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1 37 409 



THE NOVELS AND TALES OF 
HENRY* JAMES 

New York EtKtion 

VOLUME XVIII 



THE PATAGONIA 

V 

AND OTHER TALES 



HENRY JAMES 




NEW YORK 

CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS 



COPYRIGHT 1909 CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS; 
RENEWAL COPYRIGHT 1937 HENRY JAMES 



A-io.63 [MH] 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED NO PART OF THIS BOOK 
MAY BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM WITHOUT 
THE PERMISSION OF CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS. 



PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



PREFACE 

IT was in Rome during the autumn of 1877 ; a friend then 
living there but settled now in a South less weighted with 
appeals and memories happened to mention which she 
might perfectly not have done some simple and uninformed 
American lady of the previous winter, whose young daughter, 
a child of nature and of freedom, accompanying her from 
hotel to hotel, had u picked up " by the wayside, with the 
best conscience in the world, a good-looking Roman, of 
vague identity, astonished at his luck, yet (so far as might 
be, by the pair) all innocently, all serenely exhibited and 
introduced : this at least till the occurrence of some small 
social check, some interrupting incident, of no great gravity 
or dignity, and which I forget. I had never heard, save on 
this showing, of the amiable but not otherwise eminent 
ladies, who weren't in fact named, I think, and whose case 
had merely served to point a familiar moral ; and it must 
have been just their want of salience that left a margin for 
the small pencil-mark inveterately signifying, in such con- 
nexions, u Dramatise, dramatise ! " The result of my re- 
cognising a few months later the sense of my pencil-mark 
was the short chronicle of "Daisy Miller," which I indited 
in London the following spring and then addressed, with 
no conditions attached, as I remember, to the editor of a 
magazine that had its seat of publication at Philadelphia and 
had lately appeared to appreciate my contributions. That 
gentleman however (an historian of some repute) promptly 
returned me my missive, and with an absence of comment 
that struck me at the time as rather grim as, given the 
circumstances, requiring indeed some explanation : till a 
friend to whom I appealed for light, giving him the thing 
to read, declared it could only have passed with the Phil- 
adelphian critic for "an outrage on American girlhood." 

v 



PREFACE 

This was verily a light, and of bewildering intensity; though 
I was presently to read into the matter a further helpful 
inference. To the fault of being outrageous this little com- 
position added that of being essentially and pre-eminently a 
nouvelle; a signal example in fact of that type, foredoomed 
at the best, in more cases than not, to editorial disfavour. 
If accordingly I was afterwards to be cradled, almost bliss- 
fully, in the conception that u Daisy " at least, among my 
productions, might approach "success," such success for 
example, on her eventual appearance, as the state of being 
promptly pirated in Boston a sweet tribute I hadn'i yet 
received and was never again to know the irony of things 
yet claimed its rights, I could n't but long continue to feel, 
in the circumstance that quite a special reprobation had 
waited on the first appearance in the world of the ultimately 
most prosperous child of my invention. So doubly discred- 
ited, at all events, this bantling met indulgence, with no 
great delay, in the eyes of my admirable friend the late Les- 
lie Stephen and was published in two numbers of The Corn- 
bill Magazine (1878). 

It qualified itself in that publication and afterwards as 
" a Study " ; for reasons which I confess I fail to recapture 
unless they may have taken account simply of a certain flat- 
ness in my poor little heroine's literal denomination. Flat- 
ness indeed, one must have felt, was the very sum of her 
story j so that perhaps after all the attached epithet was 
meant but as a deprecation, addressed to the reader, of any 
great critical hope of stirring scenes. It provided for mere 
concentration, and on an object scant and superficially vul- 
gar from which, however, a sufficiently brooding tender- 
ness might eventually extract a shy incongruous charm. I 
suppress at all events here the appended qualification in 
view of the simple truth, which ought from the first to have 
been apparent to me, that my little exhibition is made to no 
degree whatever in critical but, quite inordinately and ex- 
travagantly, in poetical terms. It comes back to me that I 
was at a certain hour long afterwards to have reflected, in 
this connexion, on the characteristic free play of the whirl- 

vi 



PREFACE 

igig of time. It was in Italy again in Venice and in the 
prized society of an interesting friend, now dead, with whom 
I happened to wait, on the Grand Canal, at the animated 
water-steps of one of the hotels. The considerable little 
terrace there was so disposed as to make a salient stage for 
certain demonstrations on the part of two young girls, child- 
ren they^ if ever, of nature and of freedom, whose use of 
those resources, in the general public eye, and under our 
own as we sat in the gondola, drew from the lips of a second 
companion, sociably afloat with us, the remark that there 
before us, with no sign absent, were a couple of attesting 
Daisy Millers. Then it was that, in my charming hostess's 
prompt protest, the whirligig, as I have called it, at once 
betrayed itself. " How can you liken those creatures to a 
figure of which the only fault is touchingly to have trans- 
muted so sorry a type and to have, by a poetic artifice, not 
only led our judgement of it astray, but made any judge- 
ment quite impossible ? " With which this gentle lady and 
admirable critic turned on the author himself. "You know 
you quite falsified, by the turn you gave it, the thing you 
had begun with having in mind, the thing you had had, to 
satiety, the chance of c observing * : your pretty perversion 
of it, or your unprincipled mystification of our sense of it, 
does it really too much honour in spite of which, none 
the less, as anything charming or touching always to that 
extent justifies itself, we after a fashion forgive and under- 
stand you. But why waste your romance ? There are cases, 
too many, in which you 've done it again ; in which, pro- 
voked by a spirit of observation at first no doubt sufficiently 
sincere, and with the measured and felt truth fairly twitch- 
ing your sleeve, you have yielded to your incurable prejudice 
in favour of grace to whatever it is in you that makes so 
inordinately for form and prettiness and pathos ; not to say 
sometimes for misplaced drolling. Is it that you Ve after all 
too much imagination ? Those awful young women caper- 
ing at the hotel-door, they are the real little Daisy Millers 
that were ; whereas yours in the tale is such a one, more 's 
the pity, as for pitch of the ingenuous, for quality of the 

vii 



PREFACE 

artless could n't possibly have been at all." My answer 
to all which bristled of course with more professions than 
I can or need report here; the chief of them inevitably 
to the effect that my supposedly typical little figure was of 
course pure poetry, and had never been anything else ; since 
this is what helpful imagination, in however slight a dose, 
ever directly makes for. As for the original grossness of 
readers, I dare say I added, that was another matter but 
one which at any rate had then quite ceased to signify. 

A good deal of the same element has doubtless sneaked 
into " Pandora," which I also reprint here for congruity's 
sake, and even while the circumstances attending the birth 
of this anecdote, given to the light in a New York news- 
paper (1884), pretty well lose themselves for me in the 
mists of time. I do nevertheless connect a Pandora " with 
one of the scantest of memoranda, twenty words jotted 
down in New York during a few weeks spent there a year 
or two before. I had put a question to a friend about a 
young lady present at a certain pleasure-party, but present 
in rather perceptibly unsupported and unguaranteed fash- 
ion, as without other connexions, without more operative 
"backers," than a proposer possibly half-hearted and a 
slightly sceptical seconder ; and had been answered to the 
effect that she was an interesting representative of a new 
social and local variety, the " self-made," or at least self- 
making, girl, whose sign was that given some measur- 
ably amusing appeal in her to more or less ironic curiosity 
or to a certain complacency of patronage she was any- 
where made welcome enough if she only came, like one 
of the dismembered charges of Little Bo-Peep, leaving her 
" tail " behind her. Docked of all natural appendages and 
having enjoyed, as was supposed, no natural advantages ; 
with the " line drawn," that is, at her father and her mother, 
her sisters and her brothers, at everything that was hers, and 
with the presumption crushing as against these adjuncts, she 
was yet held free to prove her case and sail her boat her- 
self; even quite quaintly or quite touchingly free, as might 
be working out thus on her own lines her social salvation. 

viii 



PREFACE 

This was but five-and-twenty years ago ; yet what to-day 
most strikes me in the connexion, and quite with surprise, 
is that at a period so recent there should have been nov- 
elty for me in a situation so little formed by more con- 
temporary lights to startle or waylay. The evolution of 
varieties moves fast 5 the Pandora Days can no longer, I 
fear, pass for quaint or fresh or for exclusively native to 
any one tract of Anglo-Saxon soil. Little Bo-Peep's charges 
may, as manners have developed, leave their tails behind 
them for the season, but quite knowing what they have 
done with them and where they shall find them again as 
is proved for the most part by the promptest disavowal of 
any apparent ground for ruefulness. To " dramatise " the 
hint thus gathered was of course, rudimentanly, to see the 
self-made girl apply her very first independent measure to 
the renovation of her house, founding its fortunes, intro- 
ducing her parents, placing her brothers, marrying her sis- 
ters (this care on her own behalf being a high note of 
superiority quite secondary), in fine floating the heavy 
mass on the flood she had learned to breast. Something of 
that sort must have proposed itself to me at that time as 
the latent u drama " of the case ; very little of which, how- 
ever, I am obliged to recognise, was to struggle to the sur- 
face. What is more to the point is the moral I at present 
find myself drawing from the fact that, then turning over 
my American impressions, those proceeding from a brief 
but profusely peopled stay in New York, I should have 
fished up that none so very precious particle as one of the 
pearls of the collection. Such a circumstance comes back, 
for me, to that fact of my insuperably restricted experience 
and my various missing American clues or rather at least 
to my felt lack of the most important of them all on 
which the current of these remarks has already led me to 
dilate. There had been indubitably and multitudinously, 
for me, in my native city, the world "down-town" 
since how otherwise should the sense of " going " down, the 
sense of hovering at the narrow gates and skirting the so 
violently overscored outer face of the monstrous labyrinth 

ix 



PREFACE 

that stretches from Canal Street to the Battery, have taken 
on, to me, the intensity of a worrying, a tormenting im- 
pression? Yet it was an impression any attempt at the 
active cultivation of which, one had been almost violently 
admonished, could but find one in the last degree unprepared 
and uneducated. It was essentially New York, and New 
York was, for force and accent, nothing else worth speaking 
of; but without the special lights it remained impenetrable 
and inconceivable ; so that one but mooned about superfi- 
cially, circumferentially, taking in, through the pores of what- 
ever wistfulness, no good material at all. 1 had had to retire, 
accordingly, with my yearning presumptions all unverified 
presumptions, I mean, as to the privilege of the imagin- 
ative initiation, as to the hived stuff of drama, at the service 
there of the literary adventurer really informed enough and 
bold enough ; and with my one drop of comfort the obser- 
vation already made that at least I descried, for my own 
early humiliation and exposure, no semblance of such a com- 
petitor slipping in at any door or perched, for raking the 
scene, on any coign of vantage. That invidious attestation 
of my own appointed and incurable deafness to the major 
key I frankly surmise I could scarce have borne. For there it 
was ; not only that the major key was u down-town " but 
that down-town wassail itself, the major key absolutely, 
exclusively ; with the inevitable consequence that if the minor 
was " up-town," and (by a parity of reasoning) up-town the 
minor, so the field was meagre and the inspiration thin for 
any unfortunate practically banished from the true pasture. 
Such an unfortunate, even at the time I speak of, had still 
to confess to the memory of a not inconsiderably earlier 
season when, seated for several months at the very mod- 
erate altitude of Twenty-Fifth Street, he felt himself day by 
day alone in that scale of the balance; alone, I mean, with 
the music-masters and French pastry-cooks, the ladies and 
children immensely present and immensely numerous 
these, but testifying with a collective voice to the extraor- 
dinary absence (save as pieced together through a thousand 
gaps and indirectnesses) of a serious male interest. One had 

x 



PREFACE 

heard and seen novels and plays appraised as lacking, detri- 
mentally, a serious female ; but the higher walks in that 
community might at the period I speak of have formed a 
picture bright and animated, no doubt, but marked with the 
very opposite defect. 

Here it was accordingly that loomed into view more than 
ever the anomaly, in various ways dissimulated to a first im- 
pression, rendering one of the biggest and loudest of cities one 
of the very least of Capitals; together with the immediate re- 
minder, on the scene, that an adequate muster of Capital char- 
acteristics would have remedied half my complaint. To have 
lived in capitals, even in some of the smaller, was to be sure of 
that and to know why and all the more was this a conse- 
quence of having happened to live in some of the greater. 
Neither scale of the balance, in these, had ever struck one as 
so monstrously heaped-up at the expense of the other ; there 
had been manners and customs enough, so to speak, there had 
been features and functions, elements, appearances, social 
material, enough to go round. The question was to have 
appeared, however, and the question was to remain, this 
interrogated mystery of what American town-life had left to 
entertain the observer withal when nineteen twentieths of it, 
or in other words the huge organised mystery of the consum- 
mately, the supremely applied money-passion, were inexor- 
ably closed to him. My own practical answer figures here 
perforce in the terms, and in them only, of such propositions 
as are constituted by the four or five longest tales comprised 
in this series. What it came to was that up-town would do 
for me simply what up-town could and seemed in a man- 
ner apologetically conscious that this might n't be described 
as much. The kind of appeal to interest embodied in these 
portrayals and in several of their like companions was the 
measure of the whole minor exhibition, which affected me 
as virtually saying: "Yes I'm either that that range and 
order of things, or I 'in nothing at all ; therefore make the 
most of me 1 " Whether " Daisy Miller," Pandora," " The 
Patagonia," "Miss Gunton," "Julia Bride" and tutti 
quanti do in fact conform to any such admonition would be 

xi 



PREFACE 

an issue by itself and which must n't overcome my shyness ; 
all the more that the point of interest is really but this 
that I was on the basis of the loved nouvelle form, with the 
best will in the world and the best conscience, almost help- 
lessly cornered. To ride the nouvelle down-town, to prance 
and curvet and caracole with it there that would have been 
the true ecstasy. But a single "spill" such as I so easily 
might have had in Wall Street or wherever would have 
forbidden me, for very shame, in the eyes of the expert and 
the knowing, ever to mount again ; so that in short it was n't 
to be risked on any terms. 

There were meanwhile the alternatives of course that 
I might renounce the nouvelle, or else might abjure that 
"American life" the characteristic towniness of which was 
lighted for me, even though so imperfectly, by New York 
and Boston by those centres only. Such extremities, 
however, I simply could n't afford artistically, sentiment- 
ally, financially, or by any other sacrifice to face ; and 
if the fact nevertheless remains that an adjustment, under 
both the heads in question, had eventually to take place, 
every inch of my doubtless meagre ground was yet first 
contested, every turn and twist of my scant material eco- 
nomically used. Add to this that if the other constituents 
of the volume, the intermediate ones, serve to specify what 
I was then thrown back on, I need n't perhaps even at the 
worst have found within my limits a thinness of interest 
to resent : seeing that still after years the common appeal 
remained sharp enough to flower again into such a compo- 
sition as "Julia Bride" (which independently of its appear- 
ance here has seen the light but in Harper's Magazine^ 
1908). As I wind up with this companion-study to u Daisy 
Miller" the considerable assortment of my shorter tales I 
seem to see it symbolise my sense of my having waited 
with something of a subtle patience, my having still hoped 
as against hope that the so ebbing and obliging seasons 
would somehow strike for me some small flash of what I 
have called the major light would suffer, I mean, to glim- 
mer out, through however odd a crevice or however vouch- 

xii 



PREFACE 

safed a contact, just enough of a wandering air from the 
down-town penetralia as might embolden, as might inform, 
as might, straining a point, even conceivably inspire (always 
where the nouvelle^ and the nouvelle only, should be con- 
cerned) ; all to the advantage of my extension of view and 
my variation of theme. A whole passage of intellectual his- 
tory, if the term be not too pompous, occupies in fact, to 
my present sense, the waiting, the so fondly speculative 
interval : in which I seem to see myself rather a high and 
dry, yet irrepressibly hopeful artistic Micawber, cocking an 
ostensibly confident hat and practising an almost passionate 
system of u bluff" ; insisting, in fine, that something (out of 
the just-named penetralia) would turn up if only the right 
imaginative hanging-about on the chance, if only the true 
intelligent attention, were piously persisted in. 

I forget exactly what Micawber, who had hung about so 
on the chance, I forget exactly what he^ at the climax of his 
exquisite consciousness, found himself in fact reverting to ; 
but I feel that my analogy loses nothing from the circum- 
stance that so recently as on the publication of " Fordham 
Castle " (1904), for which I refer my reader to Volume xvi, 
the miracle, after all, alas, had n't happened, the stray emit- 
ted gleam had n't fallen across my page, the particular su- 
preme u something " those who live by their wits finally and 
most yearningly look for had n't, in fine, turned up. What 
better proof of this than that, with the call of the u four or 
five thousand words " of u Fordham Castle " for instance 
to meet, or even with the easier allowance of space for its 
successor to rise to, I was but to feel myself fumble again 
in the old limp pocket of the minor exhibition, was but to 
know myself reduced to finger once more, not a little rue- 
fully, a chord perhaps now at last too warped and rusty for 
complicated music at short order ? I trace myself, for that 
matter, in " Fordham Castle" positively " squirming" with 
the ingenuity of my effort to create for my scrap of an up- 
town subject such a scrap as I at the same time felt myself 
admonished to keep it down to 1 a certain larger connexion ; 
I may also add that of the exceedingly close complexus of 

xiii 



PREFACE 

intentions represented by the packed density of those few 
pages it would take some ampler glance here to give an 
account. My point is that my pair of little up-town iden- 
tities, the respectively typical objects of parental and con- 
jugal interest, the more or less mitigated, more or less 
embellished or disfigured, intensified or modernised Daisy 
Millers, Pandora Days, Julia Brides, Miss Guntons or 
whatever, of the anxious pair, the ignored husband and rele- 
gated mother, brought together in the Swiss lakeside pension 
my point is that these irrepressible agents yet betrayed 
the conscious need of tncking-out their time-honoured case. 
To this we owe it that the elder couple bear the brunt of 
immediate appearance and are charged with the function 
of adorning at least the foreground of the general scene ; 
they convey, by implication, the moral of the tale, at least 
its aesthetic one, if there be such a thing : they fairly hint, 
and from the very centre of the familiar field, at positive 
deprecation (should an imagined critic care not to neglect 
such a shade) of too unbroken an eternity of mere inter- 
national young ladies. It 's as if the international young 
ladies, felt by me as once more, as verily once too much, 
my appointed thematic doom, had inspired me with the fond 
thought of attacking them at an angle and from a quarter 
by which the peril and discredit of their rash inveteracy 
might be a bit conjured away. 

These in fact are the saving sanities of the dramatic poet's 
always rather mad undertaking the rigour of his artistic 
need to cultivate almost at any price variety of appearance 
and experiment, to dissimulate likenesses, samenesses, stale- 
nesses, by the infinite play of a form pretending to a life of 
its own. There are not so many quite distinct things in his 
field, I think, as there are sides by which the main masses 
may be approached ; and he is after all but a nimble besieger 
or nocturnal sneaking adventurer who perpetually plans, 
watches, circles for penetrable places. I offer " Fordham 
Castle," positively for a rare little memento of that truth : 
once I had to be, for the light wind of it in my sails, u in- 
ternationally " American, what amount of truth my subject 

xiv 



PREFACE 

might n't aspire to was urgently enough indicated which 
condition straightway placed it in the time-honoured cate- 
gory ; but the range of choice as to treatment, by which I 
mean as to my pressing the clear liquor of amusement and 
refreshment from the golden apple of composition, that 
blest freedom, with its infinite power of renewal, was still 
my resource, and I felt myself invoke it not in vain. There 
was always the difficulty I have in the course of these so 
numerous preliminary observations repeatedly referred to it, 
but the point is so interesting that it can scarce be made too 
often that the simplest truth about a human entity, a sit- 
uation, a relation, an aspect of life, however small, on behalf 
of which the claim to charmed attention is made, strains 
ever, under one's hand, more intensely, most intensely, to 
justify that claim; strains ever, as it were, toward the utter- 
most end or aim of one's meaning or of its own numerous 
connexions ; struggles at each step, and in defiance of one's 
raised admonitory finger, fully and completely to express 
itself. Any real art of representation is, I make out, a con- 
trolled and guarded acceptance, in fact a perfect economic 
mastery, of that conflict : the general sense of the expansive, 
the explosive principle in one's material thoroughly noted, 
adroitly allowed to flush and colour and animate the dis- 
puted value, but with its other appetites and treacheries, its 
characteristic space-hunger and space-cunning, kept down. 
The fair flower of this artful compromise is to my sense 
the secret of " foreshortening " the particular economic 
device for which one must have a name and which has in 
its single blessedness and its determined pitch, I think, a 
higher price than twenty other clustered loosenesses; and 
just because full-fed statement, just because the picture of 
as many of the conditions as possible made and kept propor- 
tionate, just because the surface iridescent, even in the short 
piece, by what is beneath it and what throbs and gleams 
through, are things all conducive to the only compactness 
that has a charm, to the only spareness that has a force, to 
the only simplicity that has a grace those, in each order, 
that produce the rich effect. 

XV 



PREFACE 

Let me say, however, that such reflexions had never 
helped to close my eyes, at any moment, to all that had 
come and gone, over the rest of the field, in the fictive 
world of adventure more complacently so called the 
American world, I particularly mean, that might have put 
me so completely out of countenance by having drawn its 
inspiration, that of thousands of celebrated works, neither 
from up-town nor from down-town nor from my lady's 
chamber, but from the vast wild garden of u unconventional " 
life in no matter what part of our country. I grant in fact 
that this demonstration of how consummately my own 
meagrely-conceived sources were to be dispensed with by 
the more initiated minds would but for a single circumstance, 
grasped at in recovery of self-respect, have thrown me back 
in absolute dejection on the poverty of my own categories. 
Why had n't so quickened a vision of the great neglected 
native quarry at large more troubled my dreams, instead of 
leaving my imagination on the whole so resigned ? Well, 
with many reasons I could count over, there was one that 
all exhaustively covered the ground and all completely an- 
swered the question : the reflexion, namely, that the common 
sign of the productions" unconventionally" prompted (and 
this positively without exception) was nothing less than the 
birthmark of Dialect, general or special dialect with the 
literary rein loose on its agitated back and with its shambling 
power of traction, not to say, more analytically, of ^/traction, 
trusted for all such a magic might be woith. Distinctly that 
was the odd case : the key to the whole of the treasure of ro- 
mance independently garnered was the riot of the vulgar 
tongue. One might state it more freely still and the truth 
would be as evident : the plural number, the vulgar tongues, 
each with its intensest note, but pointed the moral more 
luridly. Grand generalised continental not or particular 
pedantic, particular discriminated and " sectional " and self- 
conscious riot to feel the thick breath, to catch the ugly 
snarl, of all or of either, was to be reminded afresh of the 
only conditions that guard the grace, the only origins that 
save the honour, or even the life, of dialect : those preced- 

xvi 



PREFACE 

ent to the invasion, to the sophistication, of schools and 
unconscious of the smartness of echoes and the taint of 
slang. The thousands of celebrated productions raised their 
monument but to the bastard vernacular of communities 
disinherited of the felt difference between the speech of the 
soil and the speech of the newspaper, and capable thereby, 
accordingly, of taking slang for simplicity, the composite 
for the quaint and the vulgar for the natural. These were 
unutterable depths, and, as they yawned about one, what 
appreciable coherent sound did they seem most to give 
out? Well, to my ear surely, at the worst, none that deter- 
mined even a tardy compunction. The monument was 
there, if one would, but was one to regret one's own failure 
to have contributed a stone ? Perish, and all ignobly, the 
thought! 

Each of the other pieces of which this volume is composed 
would have its small history; but they have above all in 
common that they mark my escape from the predicament, 
as I have called it, just glanced at ; my at least partial way 
out of the dilemma formed by the respective discourage- 
ments of down-town, of up-town and of the great dialectic 
tracts. Various up-town figures flit, I allow, across these 
pages; but they too, as it were, have for the time dodged the 
dilemma; I meet them, I exhibit them, in an air of different 
and, I think, more numerous alternatives. Such is the case 
with the young American subject in " Fhckerbndge "(1902) 
and with the old American subject, as my signally mature 
heroine may here be pronounced, in " The Beldonald Hol- 
bein'* (1901). In these two cases the idea is but a stray spark 
of the old " international " flame; of course, however, it was 
quite internationally that I from far back sought my salvation. 
Let such matters as those I have named represent accordingly 
so many renewed, and perhaps at moments even rather de- 
sperate, clutches of that useful torch. We may put it in this 
way that the scale of variety had, by the facts of one's situa- 
tion, been rather oddly predetermined with Europe so con- 
stantly in requisition as the more salient American stage or 
more effective repoussoir^ and yet with any particular action 

xvii 



PREFACE 

on this great lighted and decorated scene depending for half 
its sense on one of my outland importations. Comparatively 
few those of my productions in which I appear to have felt, 
and with confidence, that source of credit freely negligible ; 
"The Princess Casamassima," " The Tragic Muse," " The 
Spoils of Poynton," "The Other House," "What Maisie 
Knew," "The Sacred Fount," practically, among the more 
or less sustained things, exhausting the list in which 
moreover I have set down two compositions not included 
in the present series. Against these longer and shorter novels 
stand many of the other category ; though when it comes to 
the array of mere brevities as in " The Marriages " (i 89 1 ) 
and four of its companions here the balance is more 
evenly struck : a proof, doubtless, that confidence in what 
he may call the indirect initiation, in the comparatively 
hampered saturation, may even after long years often fail an 
earnest worker in these fields. Conclusive that, in turn, as 
to the innumerable parts of the huge machine, a thing of 
a myriad parts, about which the intending painter of even a 
few aspects of the life of a great old complex society must 
either be right or be ridiculous. He has to be, for authority 
and on all such ground authority is everything but con- 
tinuously and confidently right ; to which end, in many a 
case, If he happens to be but a civil alien, he had best be 
simply born again I mean born differently. 

Only then, as he's quite liable to say to himself, what 
would perhaps become, under the dead collective weight 
of those knowledges that he may, as the case stands for 
him, often separately miss, what would become of the free 
intensity of the perceptions which serve him in their stead, 
in which he never hesitates to rejoice, and to which, in a 
hundred connexions, he just impudently trusts ? The ques- 
tion is too beguiling, alas, now to be gone into ; though 
the mere putting of it fairly describes the racked conscious- 
ness of the unfortunate who has incurred the dread herit- 
age of easy comparisons. His wealth, in this possession, 
is supposed to be his freedom of choice, but there are too 
many days when he asks himself if the artist may n't easily 

xviii 



PREFACE 

know an excess of that freedom. Those of the smaller sort 
never use all the freedom they have which is the sign, 
exactly, by which we know them; but those of the greater 
have never had too much immediately to use which is 
the sovereign mark of their felicity. From which range of 
speculation let me narrow down none the less a little 
ruefully ; since I confess to no great provision of u his- 
tory " on behalf of " The Marriages/* The embodied no- 
tion, for this matter, sufficiently tells its story; one has 
never to go far afield to speculate on the possible pangs of 
filial piety in face of the successor, in the given instance, 
to either lost parent, but perhaps more particularly to the 
lost mother, often inflicted on it by the parent surviving. 
As in the classic case of Mrs. Glasse's receipt, it *s but a 
question of " first catching " the example of piety intense 
enough. Granted that, the drama is all there all in the 
consciousness, the fond imagination, the possibly poisoned 
and inflamed judgement, of the suffering subject ; where, 
exactly, u The Marriages " was to find it. 

As to the "The Real Thing" (1890) and " Brooksmith " 
(1891) my recollection is sharp; the subject of each of 
these tales was suggested to me by a briefly-reported case. 
To begin with the second-named of them, the appreciative 
daughter of a friend some time dead had mentioned to me 
a visit received by her from a servant of the late distin- 
guished lady, a devoted maid whom I remembered well to 
have repeatedly seen at the latter's side and who had come 
to discharge herself so far as she might of a sorry burden. 
She had lived in her mistress's delightful society and in 
that of the many so interesting friends of the house ; she 
had been formed by nature, as unluckily happened, to enjoy 
this privilege to the utmost, and the deprivation of every- 
thing was now bitterness in her cup. She had had her 
choice, and had made her trial, of common situations or 
of a return to her own people, and had found these ordeals 
alike too cruel. She had in her years of service tasted of 
conversation and been spoiled for life ; she had, in recall 
of Stendhal's inveterate motto, caught a glimpse, all un- 

xix 



PREFACE 

timely, of tt la beaute parfaite," and should never find again 
what she had lost so that nothing was left her but 
to languish to her end. There was a touched spring, of 
course, to make " Dramatise, dramatise ! " ring out ; only 
my little derived drama, in the event, seemed to require, to 
be ample enough, a hero rather than a heroine. I desired 
for my poor lost spirit the measured maximum of the fatal 
experience : the thing became, in a word, to my imagina- 
tion, the obscure tragedy of the " intelligent " butler pre- 
sent at rare table-talk, rather than that of the more effaced 
tirewoman ; with which of course was involved a corre- 
sponding change from mistress to master. 

In like manner my much-loved friend George du Maurier 
had spoken to me of a call from a strange and striking couple 
desirous to propose themselves as artist's models for his 
weekly " social " illustrations to Puncb^ and the acceptance 
of whose services would have entailed the dismissal of an 
undistinguished but highly expert pair, also husband and wife, 
who had come to him from far back on the irregular day 
and whom, thanks to a happy, and to that extent lucrative, 
appearance of" type " on the part of each, he had reproduced, 
to the best effect, in a thousand drawing-room attitudes and 
combinations. Exceedingly modest members of society, they 
earned their bread by looking and, with the aid of supplied 
toggery, dressing, greater favourites of fortune to the life ; 
or, otherwise expressed, by skilfully feigning a virtue not 
in the least native to them. Here meanwhile were their 
so handsome proposed, so anxious, so almost haggard com- 
petitors, originally, by every sign, of the best condition and 
estate, but overtaken by reverses even while conforming im- 
peccably to the standard of superficial "smartness" and plead- 
ing with well-bred ease and the right light tone, not to say 
with feverish gaiety, that (as in the interest of art itself) they 
at least should n't have to Cl make believe." The question 
thus thrown up by the two friendly critics of the rather 
lurid little passage was of whether their not having to make 
believe would in fact serve them, and above all serve their 
interpreter as well as the borrowed graces of the compara- 

xx 



PREFACE 

lively sordid professionals who had had, for dear life, to know 
bow (which was to have learnt how) to do something. The 
question, I recall, struck me as exquisite, and out of a mo- 
mentary fond consideration of it "The Real Thing" sprang 
at a bound. 

" Flickerbridge " indeed I verily give up : so thoroughly 
does this highly-finished little anecdote cover its tracks; 
looking at me, over the few years and out of its bland neat- 
ness, with the fine inscrutability, in fact the positive coquetry, 
of the refusal to answer free-and-easy questions, the mere 
cold smile for their impertinence, characteristic of any com- 
plete artistic thing. "Dramatise, dramatise!" there had 
of course been that preliminary, there couldn't not have 
been ; but how represent here clearly enough the small suc- 
cession of steps by which such a case as the admonition is 
applied to in my picture of Frank Granger's visit to Miss 
Wenham came to issue from the whole thick-looming cloud 
of the noted appearances, the dark and dismal consequences, 
involved more and more to-day in our celebration, our com- 
memoration, our unguardedly-uttered appreciation, of any 
charming impression ? Living as we do under permanent 
visitation of the deadly epidemic of publicity, any rash word, 
any light thought that chances to escape us, may instantly, 
by that accident, find itself propagated and perverted, multi- 
plied and diffused, after a fashion poisonous, practically, and 
speedily fatal, to its subject that is to our idea, our senti- 
ment, our figured interest, our too foolishly blabbed secret. 
Fine old leisure, in George Eliot's phrase, was long ago 
extinct, but rarity, precious rarity, its twin-sister, lingered 
on a while only'to begin, in like manner, to perish by inches 
to learn, in other words, that to be so much as breathed 
about is to be handed over to the big drum and the brazen 
blare, with all the effects of the vulgarised, trampled, dese- 
crated state after the cyclone of sound and fury has spent 
itself. To have observed that, in turn, is to learn to dread 
reverberation, mere mechanical ventilation, more than the 
Black Death ; which lesson the hero of my little apologue 
is represented as, all by himself and with anguish at his 

xxi 



PREFACE 

heart, spelling out the rudiments of. Of course it was a far 
cry, over intervals of thought, artistically speaking, from the 
dire truth I here glance at to my small projected example, 
looking so all unconscious of any such portentous burden 
of sense ; but through that wilderness I shall not attempt to 
guide my reader. Let the accomplishment of the march 
figure for him, on the author's part, the arduous sport, in 
such a waste, of " dramatising." 

Intervals of thought and a desolation of missing links strike 
me, not less, as marking the approach to any simple expres- 
sion of my " original hint " for " The Story In It." What 
I definitely recall of the history of this tolerably recent 
production is that, even after I had exerted a ferocious and 
far from fruitless ingenuity to keep it from becoming a 
nouvelle for it is in fact one of the briefest of my com- 
positions it still haunted, a graceless beggar, for a couple 
of years, the cold avenues of publicity ; till finally an old 
acquaintance, about to " start a magazine," begged it in turn 
of me and published it (1903) at no cost to himself but the 
cost of his confidence, in that first number which was in 
the event, if I mistake not, to prove only one of a pair. I 
like perhaps " morbidly " to think that the Story in it may 
have been more than the magazine could carry. There at 
any rate for the u story," that is for the pure pearl of my 
idea I had to take, in the name of the particular instance, 
no less deep and straight a dive into the deep sea of a certain 
general truth than I had taken in quest of " Flickerbridge." 
The general truth had been positively phrased for me by a 
distinguished friend, a novelist not to our manner either born 
or bred, on the occasion of his having made such answer as 
he could to an interlocutor (he, oh distinctly, indigenous and 
glib 1) bent on learning from him why the adventures he 
imputed to his heroines were so perversely and persistently 
but of a type impossible to ladies respecting themselves. My 
friend's reply had been, not unnaturally, and above all not 
incongruously, that ladies who respected themselves took 
particular care never to have adventures ; not the least little 
adventure that would be worth (worth any self-respecting 

xxii 



PREFACE 

novelist's) speaking of. There were certainly, it was to be 
hoped, ladies who practised that reserve which, however 
beneficial to themselves, was yet fatally detrimental to liter- 
ature, in the sense of promptly making any artistic harmony 
pitched m the same low key trivial and empty. A picture of 
life founded on the mere reserves and omissions and suppres- 
sions of life, what sort of a performance for beauty, for 
interest, for tone could that hope to be? The enquiry 
was n't answered in any hearing of mine, and of course in- 
deed, on all such ground, discussion, to be really luminous, 
would have to rest on some such perfect definition of terms 
as is not of this muddled world. It is, not surprisingly, one 
of the rudiments of criticism that a human, a personal u ad- 
venture" is no a priori^ no positive and absolute and inelas- 
tic thing, but just a matter of relation and appreciation a 
name, we conveniently give, after the fact, to any passage, to 
any situation, that has added the sharp taste of uncertainty 
to a quickened sense of life. Therefore the thing is, all beau- 
tifully, a matter of interpretation and of the particular con- 
ditions ; without a view of which latter some of the most 
prodigious adventures, as one has often had occasion to say, 
may vulgarly show for nothing. However that may be, I 
hasten to add, the mere stir of the air round the question 
reflected in the brief but earnest interchange I have just re- 
ported was to cause a " subject," to my sense, immediately 
to bloom there. So it suddenly, on its small scale, seemed to 
stand erect or at least quite intelligently to lift its head; 
just a subject, clearly, though I could n't immediately tell 
which or what. To find out I had to get a little closer to 
it, and " The Story In It " precisely represents that under- 
taking. 

As for " The Beldonald Holbein," about which I have 
said nothing, that story by which I mean the story of it 
would take us much too far. "Mrs. Medwin," pub- 
lished in Punch (1902) and in "The Better Sort" (1903), 
I have also accommodated here for convenience. There is 
a note or two I would fain add to this ; but I check my- 
self with the sense of having, as it is, to all probability, vm- 

xxiii 



PREFACE 

dicated with a due zeal, not to say a due extravagance, the 
most general truth of many a story-teller's case : the truth, 
already more than once elsewhere glanced at, that what 
longest lives to his backward vision, in the whole business, 
is not the variable question of the " success," but the invet- 
erate romance of the labour. 

HENRY JAMES. 



CONTENTS 

DAISY MILLER i 

PANDORA 95 

THE PATAGONIA 169 

THE MARRIAGES 255 

THE REAL THING 305 

BROOKSMITH 347 

THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 373 

THE STORY IN IT 407 

FLICKERBRIDGE 437 

MRS. MEDWIN 471 



DAISY MILLER 



DAISY MILLER 



AT the little town of Vevey, in Switzerland, there is a 
particularly comfortable hotel; there are indeed many 
hotels, since the entertainment of tourists is the busi- 
ness of the place, which, as many travellers will 
remember, is seated upon the edge of a remarkably 
blue lake a lake that it behoves every tourist to 
visit. The shore of the lake presents an unbroken 
array of establishments of this order, of every cate- 
gory, from the "grand hotel" of the newest fashion, 
with a chalk-white front, a hundred balconies, and a 
dozen flags flying from its roof, to the small Swiss pen- 
sion of an elder day, with its name inscribed in Ger- 
man-looking lettering upon a pink or yellow wall and 
an awkward summer-house in the angle of the garden. 
One of the hotels at Vevey, however, is famous, even 
classical, being distinguished from many of its upstart 
neighbours by an air both of luxury and of maturity. 
In this region, through the month of June, American 
travellers are extremely numerous ; it may be said in- 
deed that Vevey assumes at that time some of the char- 
acteristics of an American watering-place. There are 
sights and sounds that evoke a vision, an echo, of 
Newport and Saratoga. There is a flitting hither and 
thither of "stylish" young girls, a rustling of muslin 

3 



DAISY MILLER 

flounces, a rattle of dance-music in the morning hours, 
a sound of high-pitched voices at all times. You 
receive an impression of these things at the excellent 
inn of the "Trois Couronnes," and are transported in 
fancy to the Ocean House or to Congress Hall. But at 
the "Trois Couronnes," it must be added, there are 
other features much at variance with these sugges- 
tions : neat German waiters who look like secretaries 
of legation; Russian princesses sitting in the garden; 
little Polish boys walking about, held by the hand, 
with their governors; a view of the snowy crest of 
the Dent du Midi and the picturesque towers of the 
Castle of Chillon. 

I hardly know whether it was the analogies or the 
differences that were uppermost in the mind of a 
young American, who, two or three years ago, sat in 
the garden of the "Trois Couronnes," looking about 
him rather idly at some of the graceful objects I have 
mentioned. It was a beautiful summer morning, and 
in whatever fashion the young American looked at 
things they must have seemed to him charming. He 
had come from Geneva the day before, by the little 
steamer, to see his aunt, who was staying at the hotel 
Geneva having been for a long time his place of 
residence. But his aunt had a headache his aunt 
had almost always a headache and she was now 
shut up in her room smelling camphor, so that he was 
at liberty to wander about. He was some seven-and- 
twenty years of age; when his friends spoke of him 
they usually said that he was at Geneva "studying." 
When his enemies spoke of him they said but after 
all he had no enemies : he was extremely amiable and 

4 



DAISY MILLER 

generally liked. What I should say is simply that 
when certain persons spoke of him they conveyed that 
the reason of his spending so much time at Geneva 
was that he was extremely devoted to a lady who lived 
there a foreign lady, a person older than himself. 
Very few Americans truly I think none had ever 
seen this lady, about whom there were some singular 
stories. But Winterbourne had an old attachment for 
the little capital of Calvinism; he had been put to 
school there as a boy and had afterwards even gone, on 
trial trial of the grey old "Academy" on the steep 
and stony hillside to college there; circumstances 
which had led to his forming a great many youthful 
friendships. Many of these he had kept, and they 
were a source of great satisfaction to him. 

After knocking at his aunt's door and learning that 
she was indisposed he had taken a walk about the 
town and then he had come in to his breakfast. He 
had now finished that repast, but was enjoying a small 
cup of coffee which had been served him on a little 
table in the garden by one of the waiters who looked 
like attaches. At last he finished his coffee and lit a 
cigarette. Presently a small boy came walking along 
the path an urchin of nine or ten. The child, who 
was diminutive for his years, had an aged expression 
of countenance, a pale complexion and sharp little 
features. He was dressed in knickerbockers and had 
red stockings that displayed his poor little spindle- 
shanks ; he also wore a brilliant red cravat. He carried 
in his hand a long alpenstock, the sharp point of 
which he thrust into everything he approached the 
flower-beds, the garden-benches, the trains of the 

5 



DAISY MILLER 

ladies' dresses. In front of Winterbourne he paused, 
looking at him with a pair of bright and penetrating 
little eyes. 

" Will you give me a lump of sugar ? " he asked in a 
small sharp hard voice a voice immature and yet 
somehow not young. 

Winterbourne glanced at the light table near him, 
on which his coffee-service rested, and saw that several 
morsels of sugar remained. " Yes, you may take one," 
he answered; "but I don't think too much sugar good 
for little boys." 

This little boy stepped forward and carefully se- 
lected three of the coveted fragments, two of which 
he buried in the pocket of his knickerbockers, deposit- 
ing the other as promptly in another place. He poked 
his alpenstock, lance-fashion, into Winterbourne's 
bench and tried to crack the lump of sugar with his 
teeth. 

"Oh blazes; it's har-r-d!" he exclaimed, divesting 
vowel and consonants, pertinently enough, of any 
taint of softness. 

Winterbourne had immediately gathered that he 
might have the honour of claiming him as a coun- 
tryman. "Take care you don't hurt your teeth," he 
said paternally. 

"I have n't got any teeth to hurt. They Ve all come 
out. I've only got seven teeth. Mother counted them 
last night, and one came out right afterwards. She 
said she 'd slap me if any more came out. I can't help 
it. It's this old Europe. It's the climate that makes 
them come out. In America they did n't come out. 
It's these hotels." 

6 



DAISY MILLER 

Winterbourne was much amused. " If you eat three 
lumps of sugar your mother will certainly slap you/* 
he ventured. 

"She's got to give me some candy then," rejoined 
his young interlocutor. " I can't get any candy here 
any American candy. American candy's the best 
candy/' 

"And are American little boys the best little boys ? " 
Winterbourne asked. 

"I don't know. I'm an American boy," said the 
child. 

"I see you're one of the best!" the young man 
laughed. 

"Are you an American man ?" pursued this viva- 
cious infant. And then on his friend's affirmative 
reply, "American men are the best," he declared with 
assurance. 

His companion thanked him for the compliment, 
and the child, who had now got astride of his alpen- 
stock, stood looking about him while he attacked 
another lump of sugar. Winterbourne wondered if he 
himself had been like this in his infancy, for he had 
been brought to Europe at about the same age. 

"Here comes my sister!" cried his young com- 
patriot. " She 's an American girl, you bet ! " 

Winterbourne looked along the path and saw a 
beautiful young lady advancing. " American girls are 
the best girls," he thereupon cheerfully remarked to 
his visitor. 

"My sister ain't the best!" the child promptly 
returned. "She's always blowing at me." 

"I imagine that's your fault, not hers," said Win- 

7 



DAISY MILLER 

terbourne. The young lady meanwhile had drawn 
near. She was dressed in white muslin, with a hun- 
dred frills and flounces and knots of pale-coloured rib- 
bon. Bareheaded, she balanced in her hand a large 
parasol with a deep border of embroidery; and she 
was strikingly, admirably pretty. "How pretty they 
are ! " thought our friend, who straightened himself in 
his seat as if he were ready to rise. 

The young lady paused in front of his bench, near 
the parapet of the garden, which overlooked the lake. 
The small boy had now converted his alpenstock into 
a vaulting-pole, by the aid of which he was springing 
about in the gravel and kicking it up not a little. 
"Why Randolph," she freely began, "what are you 
doing?" 

"I 'm going up the Alps ! " cried Randolph. "This 
is the way!" And he gave another extravagant 
jump, scattering the pebbles about Winterbourne's 
ears. 

"That's the way they come down," said Winter- 
bourne. 

"He's an American man!" proclaimed Randolph 
in his harsh little voice. 

The young lady gave no heed to this circumstance, 
but looked straight at her brother. "Well, I guess 
you'd better be quiet," she simply observed. 

It seemed to Winterbourne that he had been in a 
manner presented. He got up and stepped slowly 
toward the charming creature, throwing away his 
cigarette. "This little boy and I have made acquaint- 
ance," he said with great civility. In Geneva, as he 
had been perfectly aware, a young man was n't at lib- 

8 



DAISY MILLER 

erty to speak to a young unmarried lady save under 
certain rarely-occurring conditions ; but here at Vevey 
what conditions could be better than these? a 
pretty American girl coming to stand in front of you 
in a garden with all the confidence in life. This pretty 
American girl, whatever that might prove, on hearing 
Winterbourne's observation simply glanced at him; 
she then turned her head and looked over the parapet, 
at the lake and the opposite mountains. He wondered 
whether he had gone too far, but decided that he must 
gallantly advance rather than retreat. While he was 
thinking of something else to say the young lady 
turned again to the little boy, whom she addressed 
quite as if they were alone together. "I should like to 
know where you got that pole." 

"I bought it!" Randolph shouted. 

"You don't mean to say you 're going to take it to 
Italy!" 

" Yes, I 'm going to take it t' Italy ! " the child rang 
out. 

She glanced over the front of her dress and smoothed 
out a knot or two of ribbon. Then she gave her sweet 
eyes to the prospect again. "Well, I guess you'd 
better leave it somewhere," she dropped after a mo- 
ment. 

"Are you going to Italy ?" Winterbourne now de- 
cided very respectfully to enquire. 

She glanced at him with lovely remoteness. "Yes, 
sir," she then replied. And she said nothing more. 

"And are you a thinking of the Simplon ? " 
he pursued with a slight drop of assurance. 

"I don't know," she said. "I suppose it's some 

9 



DAISY MILLER 

mountain. Randolph, what mountain are we thinking 

of?" 

"Thinking of ?" the boy stared. 

"Why going right over." 

"Going to where ?" he demanded. 

"Why right down to Italy " Winterbourne felt 
vague emulations. 

"I don't know/ 5 said Randolph. "I don't want to 
go t' Italy. I want to go to America." 

"Oh Italy's a beautiful place!" the young man 
laughed. 

"Can you get candy there ? " Randolph asked of all 
the echoes. 

"I hope not," said his sister. "I guess you've had 
enough candy, and mother thinks so too." 

"I have n't had any for ever so long for a hun- 
dred weeks ! " cried the boy, still jumping about. 

The young lady inspected her flounces and smoothed 
her ribbons again; and Winterbourne presently risked 
an observation on the beauty of the view. He was 
ceasing to be in doubt, for he had begun to perceive 
that she was really not in the least embarrassed. She 
might be cold, she might be austere, she might even 
be prim; for that was apparently he had already 
so generalised what the most "distant" American 
girls did : they came and planted themselves straight 
in front of you to show how rigidly unapproachable 
they were. There had n't been the slightest flush in 
her fresh fairness however; so that she was clearly 
neither offended nor fluttered. Only she was com- 
posed he had seen that before too of charming 
little parts that did n't match and that made no 

10 



DAISY MILLER 

ensemble; and if she looked another way when he 
spoke to her, and seemed not particularly to hear him, 
this was simply her habit, her manner, the result of 
her having no idea whatever of "form " (with such a 
tell-tale appendage as Randolph where in the world 
would she have got it ?) in any such connexion. As 
he talked a little more and pointed out some of the 
objects of interest in the view, with which she ap- 
peared wholly unacquainted, she gradually, none the 
less, gave him more of the benefit of her attention; 
and then he saw that act unqualified by the faintest 
shadow of reserve. It was n't however what would 
have been called a "bold" front that she presented, 
for her expression was as decently limpid as the very 
cleanest water. Her eyes were the very prettiest con- 
ceivable, and indeed Winterbourne had n't for a long 
time seen anything prettier than his fair country- 
woman's various features her complexion, her nose, 
her ears, her teeth. He took a great interest generally 
in that range of effects and was addicted to noting and, 
as it were, recording them ; so that in regard to this 
young lady's face he made several observations. It 
was n't at all insipid, yet at the same time was n't 
pointedly what point, on earth, could she ever 
make ? expressive ; and hough it offered such a col- 
lection of small finenesses and neatnesses he mentally 
accused it very forgivingly of a want of finish. 
He thought nothing more likely than that its wearer 
would have had her own experience of the action of 
her charms, as she would certainly have acquired a 
resulting confidence; but even should she depend on 
this for her main amusement her bright sweet super- 

II 



DAISY MILLER 

ficial little visage gave out neither mockery nor irony. 
Before long it became clear that, however these things 
might be, she was much disposed to conversation. She 
remarked to Winterbourne that they were going to 
Rome for the winter she and her mother and Ran- 
dolph. She asked him if he was a "real American"; 
she would n't have taken him for one ; he seemed 
more like a German this flower was gathered as 
from a large field of comparison especially when he 
spoke. Winterbourne, laughing, answered that he had 
met Germans who spoke like Americans, but not, so 
far as he remembered, any American with the resem- 
blance she noted. Then he asked her if she might n't 
be more at ease should she occupy the bench he had 
just quitted. She answered that she liked hanging 
round, but she none the less resignedly, after a little, 
dropped to the bench. She told him she was from 
New York State "if you know where that is"; but 
our friend really quickened this current by catching 
hold of her small slippery brother and making him 
stand a few minutes by his side. 

"Tell me your honest name, my boy." So he art- 
fully proceeded. 

In response to which the child was indeed unvar- 
nished truth. " Randolph C. Miller. And Til tell you 
hers." With which he levelled his alpenstock at his 
sister. 

"You had better wait till you 're asked \" said this 
young lady quite at her leisure. 

"I should like very much to know your name," 
Winterbourne made free to reply. 

"Her name's Daisy Miller!" cried the urchin. 

12 



DAISY MILLER 

" But that ain't her real name; that ain't her name on 
her cards/' 

"It's a pity you haven't got one of my cards!" 
Miss Miller quite as naturally remarked. 

"Her real name's Annie P. Miller," the boy went 
on. 

It seemed, all amazingly, to do her good. "Ask him 
bis now " and she indicated their friend. 

But to this point Randolph seemed perfectly indif- 
ferent; he continued to supply information with regard 
to his own family. "My father's name is Ezra B. 
Miller. My father ain't in Europe he 's in a better 
place than Europe." Winterbourne for a moment 
supposed this the manner in which the child had been 
taught to intimate that Mr. Miller had been removed 
to the sphere of celestial rewards. But Randolph im- 
mediately added : " My father 's in Schenectady. He 's 
got a big business. My father 's rich, you bet." 

" Well ! " ejaculated Miss Miller, lowering her para- 
sol and looking at the embroidered border. Winter- 
bourne presently released the child, who departed, 
dragging his alpenstock along the path. "He don't 
like Europe," said the girl as with an artless instinct 
for historic truth. " He wants to go back." 

"To Schenectady, you mean?" 

"Yes, he wants to go right home. He has n't got 
any boys here. There 's one boy here, but he always 
goes round with a teacher. They won't let him play." 

"And your brother has n't any teacher ?" Winter- 
bourne enquired. 

It tapped, at a touch, the spring of confidence. 
"Mother thought of getting him one to travel 

13 



DAISY MILLER 

round with us. There was a lady told her of a very 
good teacher; an American lady perhaps you know 
her Mrs. Sanders. I think she came from Boston. 
She told her of this teacher, and we thought of getting 
him to travel round with us. But Randolph said he 
did n't want a teacher travelling round with us. He 
said he would n't have lessons when he was in the cars. 
And we are in the cars about half the time. There was 
an English lady we met in the cars I think her name 
was Miss Featherstone; perhaps you know her. She 
wanted to know why I did n't give Randolph lessons 
give him 'instruction/ she called it. I guess he 
could give me more instruction than I could give him. 
He's very smart." 

"Yes," said Winterbourne; "he seems very smart." 
"Mother's going to get a teacher for him as soon 
as we get t' Italy. Can you get good teachers in 
Italy?" 

"Very good, I should think," Winterbourne hast- 
ened to reply. 

"Or else she *s going to find some school. He ought 
to learn some more. He 's only nine. He 's going to 
college." And in this way Miss Miller continued to 
converse upon the affairs of her family and upon other 
topics. She sat there with her extremely pretty hands, 
ornamented with very brilliant rings, folded in her lap, 
and with her pretty eyes now resting upon those of 
Winterbourne, now wandering over the garden, the 
people who passed before her and the beautiful view. 
She addressed her new acquaintance as if she had 
known him a long time. He found it very pleasant. It 
was many years since he had heard a young girl talk so 



DAISY MILLER 

much. It might have been said of this wandering 
maiden who had come and sat down beside him upon 
a bench that she chattered. She was very quiet, she 
sat in a charming tranquil attitude; but her lips and 
her eyes were constantly moving. She had a soft slen- 
der agreeable voice, and her tone was distinctly so- 
ciable. She gave Winterbourne a report of her move- 
ments and intentions, and those of her mother and 
brother, in Europe, and enumerated in particular the 
various hotels at which they had stopped. "That 
English lady in the cars," she said "Miss Feather- 
stone asked me if we did n't all live in hotels in 
America. I told her I had never been in so many 
hotels in my life as since I came to Europe. I 've never 
seen so many it's nothing but hotels/' But Miss 
Miller made this remark with no querulous accent; 
she appeared to be in the best humour with everything. 
She declared that the hotels were very good when once 
you got used to their ways and that Europe was per- 
fectly entrancing. She was n't disappointed not a 
bit. Perhaps it was because she had heard so much 
about it before. She had ever so many intimate 
friends who had been there ever so many times, and 
that way she had got thoroughly posted. And then she 
had had ever so many dresses and things from Paris. 
Whenever she put on a Paris dress she felt as if she 
were in Europe. 

"It was a kind of a wishing-cap," Winterbourne 
smiled. 

"Yes," said Miss Miller at once and without exam- 
ining this analogy; "it always made me wish I was 
here. But I need n't have done that for dresses. I 'm 

15 



DAISY MILLER 

sure they send all the pretty ones to America; you see 
the most frightful things here. The only thing I don't 
like/' she proceeded, "is the society. There ain't any 
society or if there is I don't know where it keeps 
itself. Do you ? I suppose there 's some society some- 
where, but I have n't seen anything of it. I 'm very 
fond of society and I Ve always had plenty of it. I 
don't mean only in Schenectady, but in New York. I 
used to go to New York every winter. In New York 
I had lots of society. Last winter I had seventeen din- 
ners given me, and three of them were by gentlemen," 
added Daisy Miller. " I 've more friends in New York 
than in Schenectady more gentlemen friends ; and 
more young lady friends too," she resumed in a mo- 
ment. She paused again for an instant; she was look- 
ing at Winterbourne with all her prettiness in her 
frank gay eyes and in her clear rather uniform 
smile. "I've always had," she said, "a great deal of 
gentlemen's society." 

Poor Winterbourne was amused and perplexed 
above all he was charmed. He had never yet heard a 
young girl express herself in just this fashion ; never at 
least save in cases where to say such things was to have 
at the same time some rather complicated conscious- 
ness about them. And yet was he to accuse Miss Daisy 
Miller of an actual or a potential arriere-pensee, as 
they said at Geneva ? He felt he had lived at Geneva 
so long as to have got morally muddled ; he had lost 
the right sense for the young American tone. Never 
indeed since he had grown old enough to appreciate 
things had he encountered a young compatriot of so 
"strong" a type as this. Certainly she was very 

16 



DAISY MILLER 

charming, but how extraordinarily communicative 
and how tremendously easy ! Was she simply a pretty 
girl from New York State were they all like that, 
the pretty girls who had had a good deal of gentle- 
men's society ? Or was she also a designing, an auda- 
cious, in short an expert young person ? Yes, his in- 
stinct for such a question had ceased to serve him, and 
his reason could but mislead. Miss Daisy Miller 
looked extremely innocent. Some people had told him 
that after all American girls were exceedingly in- 
nocent, and others had told him that after all they 
weren't. He must on the whole take Miss Daisy 
Miller for a flirt a pretty American flirt. He had 
never as yet had relations with representatives of that 
class. He had known here in Europe two or three wo- 
men persons older than Miss Daisy Miller and pro- 
vided, for respectability's sake, with husbands who 
were great coquettes ; dangerous terrible women with 
whom one's light commerce might indeed take a seri- 
ous turn. But this charming apparition was n't a 
coquette in that sense; she was very unsophisticated; 
she was only a pretty American flirt. Winterbourne 
was almost grateful for having found the formula that 
applied to Miss Daisy Miller. He leaned back in his 
seat ; he remarked to himself that she had the finest 
little nose he had ever seen ; he wondered what were 
the regular conditions and limitations of one's inter- 
course with a pretty American flirt. It presently 
became apparent that he was on the way to learn. 

"Have you been to that old castle ?" the girl soon 
asked, pointing with her parasol to the far-shining 
walls of the Chateau de Chillon. 



DAISY MILLER 

"Yes, formerly, more than once/' said Winter- 
bourne. " You too, I suppose, have seen it ? " 

"No, we have n't been there. I want to go there 
dreadfully. Of course I mean to go there. I would n't 
go away from here without having seen that old 
castle/' 

"It's a very pretty excursion," the young man 
returned, "and very easy to make. You can drive, 
you know, or you can go by the little steamer/ 7 

"You can go in the cars," said Miss Miller. 

"Yes, you can go in the cars," Winterbourne 
assented. 

"Our courier says they take you right up to the 
castle," she continued. "We were going last week, but 
mother gave out. She suffers dreadfully from dyspep- 
sia. She said she could n't any more go ! " But this 
sketch of Mrs. Miller's plea remained unfinished. 
" Randolph would n't go either ; he says he don't think 
much of old castles. But I guess we '11 go this week if 
we can get Randolph." 

"Your brother isn't interested in ancient monu- 
ments ? " Winterbourne indulgently asked. 

He now drew her, as he guessed she would herself 
have said, every time. " Why no, he says he don't care 
much about old castles. He 's only nine. He wants to 
stay at the hotel. Mother's afraid to leave him alone, 
and the courier won't stay with him; so we have n't 
been to many places. But it will be too bad if we 
don't go up there." And Miss Miller pointed again 
at the Chateau de Chillon. 

"I should think it might be arranged," Winter- 
bourne was thus emboldened to reply. " Could n't you 

18 



DAISY MILLER 

get some one to stay for the afternoon with Ran- 
dolph?" 

Miss Miller looked at him a moment, and then with 
all serenity, " I wish you *d stay with him ! " she said. 

He pretended to consider it. "I 'd much rather go 
to Chillon with you." 

" With me ? " she asked without a shadow of emo- 
tion. 

She did n't rise blushing, as a young person at 
Geneva would have done ; and yet, conscious that he 
had gone very far, he thought it possible she had 
drawn back. "And with your mother," he answered 
very respectfully. 

But it seemed that both his audacity and his respect 
were lost on Miss Daisy Miller. "I guess mother 
would n't go for you," she smiled. "And she ain't 
much bent on going, anyway. She don't like to ride 
round in the afternoon." After which she familiarly 
proceeded: "But did you really mean what you said 
just now that you 'd like to go up there ? " 

"Most earnestly I meant it," Winterbourne de- 
clared. 

"Then we may arrange it. If mother will stay with 
Randolph I guess Eugenio will." 

"Eugenio?" the young man echoed. 

" Eugenio 's our courier. He doesn't like to stay 
with Randolph he's the most fastidious man I ever 
saw. But he 's a splendid courier. I guess he '11 stay at 
home with Randolph if mother does, and then we can 
go to the castle." 

Winterbourne reflected for an instant as lucidly as 
possible: "we" could only mean Miss Miller and 

19 



DAISY MILLER 

himself. This prospect seemed almost too good to 
believe; he felt as if he ought to kiss the young lady's 
hand. Possibly he would have done so, and quite 
spoiled his chance; but at this moment another person 
presumably Eugenio appeared. A tall hand- 
some man, with superb whiskers and wearing a velvet 
morning-coat and a voluminous watch-guard, ap- 
proached the young lady, looking sharply at her com- 
panion. "Oh Eugenio ! " she said with the friendliest 
accent. 

Eugenio had eyed Winterbourne from head to foot; 
he now bowed gravely to Miss Miller. "I have the 
honour to inform Mademoiselle that luncheon's on 
table/' 

Mademoiselle slowly rose. "See here, Eugenio, 1 'm 
going to that old castle anyway." 

"To the Chateau de Chillon, Mademoiselle ?" the 
courier enquired. "Mademoiselle has made arrange- 
ments ? " he added in a tone that struck Winterbourne 
as impertinent. 

Eugenie's tone apparently threw, even to Miss 
Miller's own apprehension, a slightly ironical light on 
her position. She turned to Winterbourne with the 
slightest blush. "You won't back out?" 
" I shall not be happy till we go ! " he protested. 
"And you're staying in this hotel ?" she went on. 
"And you're really American ?" 

The courier still stood there with an effect of 
offence for the young man so far as the latter saw in it 
a tacit reflexion on Miss Miller's behaviour and an 
insinuation that she "picked up" acquaintances. "I 
shall have the honour of presenting to you a person 

20 



DAISY MILLER 

who'll tell you all about me," he said, smiling, and 
referring to his aunt. 

"Oh well, we'll go some day/ 5 she beautifully an- 
swered ; with which she gave him a smile and turned 
away. She put up her parasol and walked back to the 
inn beside Eugenio. Winterbourne stood watching 
her, and as she moved away, drawing her muslin 
furbelows over the walk, he spoke to himself of her 
natural elegance. 



II 

HE had, however, engaged to do more than proved 
feasible in promising to present his aunt, Mrs. Cos- 
tello, to Miss Daisy Miller. As soon as that lady had 
got better of her headache he waited on her in her 
apartment and, after a show of the proper solicitude 
about her health, asked if she had noticed in the hotel 
an American family a mamma, a daughter and an 
obstreperous little boy. 

"An obstreperous little boy and a preposterous big 
courier ?" said Mrs, Costello. "Oh yes, I 've noticed 
them. Seen them, heard them and kept out of their 
way." Mrs. Costello was a widow of fortune, a person 
of much distinction and who frequently intimated that 
if she had n't been so dreadfully liable to sick-head- 
aches she would probably have left a deeper impress 
on her time. She had a long pale face, a high nose and 
a great deal of very striking white hair, which she wore 
in large puffs and over the top of her head. She had 
two sons married in New York and another who was 
now in Europe. This young man was amusing him- 
self at Homburg and, though guided by his taste, was 
rarely observed to visit any particular city at the mo- 
ment selected by his mother for her appearance there. 
Her nephew, who had come to Vevey expressly to see 
her, was therefore more attentive than, as she said, her 
very own. He had imbibed at Geneva the idea that 
one must be irreproachable in all such forms. Mrs. 

22 



DAISY MILLER 

Costello had n't seen him for many years and was 
now greatly pleased with him, manifesting her appro- 
bation by initiating him into many of the secrets of 
that social sway which, as he could see she would like 
him to think, she exerted from her stronghold in Forty- 
Second Street. She admitted that she was very exclus- 
ive, but if he had been better acquainted with New 
York he would see that one had to be. And her pic- 
ture of the minutely hierarchical constitution of the 
society of that city, which she presented to him in 
many different lights, was, to Winterbourne's imagin- 
ation, almost oppressively striking. 

He at once recognised from her tone that Miss Daisy 
Miller's place in the social scale was low. " I 'm afraid 
you don't approve of them/' he pursued in reference 
to his new friends. 

"They're horribly common" it was perfectly 
simple. " They 're the sort of Americans that one does 
one's duty by just ignoring." 

"Ah you just ignore them ? " the young man took 
it in. 

"I can't not, my dear Frederick. I wouldn't if I 
had n't to, but I have to." 

"The little girl 's very pretty," he went on in a mo- 
ment. 

"Of course she *s very pretty. But she 's of the last 
crudity." 

" I see what you mean of course," he allowed after 
another pause. 

"She has that charming look they all have," his 
aunt resumed. "I can't think where they pick it up; 
and she dresses in perfection no, you don't know 

23 



DAISY MILLER 

how well she dresses. I can't think where they get 
their taste/' 

" But, my dear aunt, she 's not, after all, a Coman- 
che savage." 

"She is a young lady," said Mrs. Costello, "who 
has an intimacy with her mamma's courier ? " 

"An 'intimacy' with him ?" Ah there it was ! 

"There's no other name for such a relation. But 
the skinny little mother 's just as bad ! They treat the 
courier as a familiar friend as a gentleman and a 
scholar. I should n't wonder if he dines with them. 
Very likely they 've never seen a man with such good 
manners, such fine clothes, so like a gentleman or a 
scholar. He probably corresponds to the young lady's 
idea of a count. He sits with them in the garden of 
an evening. I think he smokes in their faces." 

Winterbourne listened with interest to these dis- 
closures; they helped him to make up his mind about 
Miss Daisy. Evidently she was rather wild. "Well," 
he said, " I 'm not a courier and I did n't smoke in her 
face, and yet she was very charming to me." 

"You had better have mentioned at first," Mrs. 
Costello returned with dignity, "that you had made 
her valuable acquaintance." 

"We simply met in the garden and talked a bit." 

" By appointment no ? Ah that 's still to come ! 
Pray what did you say ? " 

"I said I should take the liberty of introducing her 
to my admirable aunt." 

"Your admirable aunt's a thousand times obliged 
to you." 

"It was to guarantee my respectability." 
24 



DAISY MILLER 

"And pray who's to guarantee hers ?" 

"Ah you're cruel!" said the young man. "She's 
a very innocent girl." 

"You don't say that as if you believed it," Mrs. 
Costello returned. 

"She's completely uneducated," Winterbourne 
acknowledged, "but she's wonderfully pretty, and in 
short she 's very nice. To prove I believe it I 'm going 
to take her to the Chateau de Chillon." 

Mrs. Costello made a wondrous face. "You two 
are going off there together ? I should say it proved 
just the contrary. How long had you known her, may 
I ask, when this interesting project was formed ? You 
have n't been twenty-four hours in the house." 

" I had known her half an hour ! " Winterbourne 
smiled. 

"Then she's just what I supposed." 

"And what do you suppose?" 

"Why that she's a horror." 

Our youth was silent for some moments. " You 
really think then," he presently began, and with 
a desire for trustworthy information, "you really 
think that " But he paused again while his aunt 
waited. 

"Think what, sir?" 

"That she's the sort of young lady who expects a 
man sooner or later to well, we'll call it carry 
her off?" 

" I have n't the least idea what such young ladies 
expect a man to do. But I really consider you had 
better not meddle with little American girls who are 
uneducated, as you mildly put it. You 've lived too 

25 



DAISY MILLER 

long out of the country. You 'II be sure to make some 
great mistake. You're too innocent." 

"My dear aunt, not so much as that comes to ! " he 
protested with a laugh and a curl of his moustache. 
"You're too guilty then!" 

He continued all thoughtfully to finger the orna- 
ment in question. "You won't let the poor girl know 
you then ? " he asked at last. 

"Is it literally true that she's going to the Chateau 
de Chillon with you ? " 
"I've no doubt she fully intends it." 
"Then, my dear Frederick," said Mrs. Costello, 
" I must decline the honour of her acquaintance. I 'm 
an old woman, but I 'm not too old thank heaven 
to be honestly shocked ! " 

"But don't they all do these things the little 
American girls at home ? " Winterbourne enquired. 

Mrs. Costello stared a moment. " I should like to 
see my granddaughters do them!" she then grimly 
returned. 

This seemed to throw some light on the matter, for 
Winterbourne remembered to have heard his pretty 
cousins in New York, the daughters of this lady's two 
daughters, called "tremendous flirts." If therefore 
Miss Daisy Miller exceeded the liberal licence allowed 
to these young women it was probable she did go even 
by the American allowance rather far. Winterbourne 
was impatient to see her again, and it vexed, it even 
a little humiliated him, that he should n't by instinct 
appreciate her justly. 

Though so impatient to see her again he hardly 
knew what ground he should give for his aunt's refusal 

26 



DAISY MILLER 

to become acquainted with her; but he discovered 
promptly enough that with Miss Daisy Miller there 
was no great need of walking on tiptoe. He found her 
that evening in the garden, wandering about in the 
warm starlight after the manner of an indolent sylph 
and swinging to and fro the largest fan he had ever 
beheld. It was ten o'clock. He had dined with his 
aunt, had been sitting with her since dinner, and had 
just taken leave of her till the morrow. His young 
friend frankly rejoiced to renew their intercourse; she 
pronounced it the stupidest evening she had ever 
passed. 

" Have you been all alone ? " he asked with no in- 
tention of an epigram and no effect of her perceiving 
one. 

" I 've been walking round with mother. But mo- 
ther gets tired walking round," Miss Miller explained. 

"Has she gone to bed ?" 

"No, she does n't like to go to bed. She does n't 
sleep scarcely any not three hours. She says she 
does n't know how she lives. She 's dreadfully nerv- 
ous. I guess she sleeps more than she thinks. She's 
gone somewhere after Randolph ; she wants to try to 
get him to go to bed. He does n't like to go to bed." 

The soft impartiality of her constatations, as Win- 
terbourne would have termed them, was a thing by 
itself exquisite little fatalist as they seemed to make 
her. "Let us hope she'll persuade him," he encour- 
agingly said. 

"Well, she'll talk to him all she can but he 
does n't like her to talk to him " : with which Miss 
Daisy opened and closed her fan. "She's going to try 

27 



DAISY MILLER 

to get Eugenic to talk to him. But Randolph ain't 
afraid of Eugenio. Eugenio 's a splendid courier, but 
he can't make much impression on Randolph ! I don't 
believe he'll go to bed before eleven." Her detach- 
ment from any invidious judgement of this was, to her 
companion's sense, inimitable; and it appeared that 
Randolph's vigil was in fact triumphantly prolonged, 
for Winterbourne attended her in her stroll for some 
time without meeting her mother. " I 've been looking 
round for that lady you want to introduce me to," she 
resumed "I guess she 's your aunt." Then on his 
admitting the fact and expressing some curiosity as to 
how she had learned it, she said she had heard all 
about Mrs. Costello from the chambermaid. She was 
very quiet and very comrne il faut; she wore white 
puffs ; she spoke to no one and she never dined at the 
common table. Every two days she had a headache. 
"I think that's a lovely description, headache and 
all ! " said Miss Daisy, chattering along in her thin gay 
voice. "I want to know her ever so much. I know 
just what your aunt would be; I know I'd like her. 
She 'd be very exclusive. I like a lady to be exclusive; 
I 'm dying to be exclusive myself. Well, I guess we are 
exclusive, mother and I. We don't speak to any one 
or they don't speak to us. I suppose it 's about the 
same thing. Anyway, I shall be ever so glad to meet 
your aunt." 

Winterbourne was embarrassed he could but 
trump up some evasion. "She'd be most happy, but 
I'm afraid those tiresome headaches are always to 
be reckoned with." 

The girl looked at him through the fine dusk. 
28 



DAISY MILLER 

"Well, I suppose she does n't have a headache every 
day." 

He had to make the best of it. " She tells me she 
wonderfully does/* He did n't know what else to say. 

Miss Miller stopped and stood looking at him. Her 
prettiness was still visible in the darkness; she kept 
flapping to and fro her enormous fan. "She does n't 
want to know me ! " she then lightly broke out. " Why 
don't you say so ? You need n't be afraid. / *m not 
afraid ! " And she quite crowed for the fun of it. 

Winterbourne distinguished however a wee false 
note in this : he was touched, shocked, mortified by it. 
"My dear young lady, she knows no one. She goes 
through life immured. It 's her wretched health." 

The young girl walked on a few steps in the glee of 
the thing. " You need n't be afraid," she repeated. 
"Why should she want to know me?" Then she 
paused again ; she was close to the parapet of the gar- 
den, and in front of her was the starlit lake. There 
was a vague sheen on its surface, and in the dis- 
tance were dimly-seen mountain forms. Daisy Miller 
looked out at these great lights and shades and again 
proclaimed a gay indifference "Gracious! she is 
exclusive ! " Winterbourne wondered if she were seri- 
ously wounded and for a moment almost wished her 
sense of injury might be such as to make it becoming 
in him to reassure and comfort her. He had a pleasant 
sense that she would be all accessible to a respectful 
tenderness at that moment. He felt quite ready to 
sacrifice his aunt conversationally; to acknow- 
ledge she was a proud rude woman and to make the 
point that they need n't mind her. But before he had 

29 



DAISY MILLER 

time to commit himself to this questionable mixture of 
gallantry and impiety, the young lady, resuming her 
walk, gave an exclamation in quite another tone. 
"Well, here's mother! I guess she has n't got Ran- 
dolph to go to bed." The figure of a lady appeared, at 
a distance, very indistinct in the darkness ; it advanced 
with a slow and wavering step and then suddenly 
seemed to pause. 

"Are you sure it's your mother? Can you make 
her out in this thick dusk ? " Winterbourne asked. 

"Well," the girl laughed, "I guess I know my 
own mother ! And when she has got on my shawl too. 
She's always wearing my things." 

The lady in question, ceasing now to approach, 
hovered vaguely about the spot at which she had 
checked her steps. 

" I 'm afraid your mother does n't see you," said 
Winterbourne. " Or perhaps," he added thinking, 
with Miss Miller, the joke permissible " perhaps 
she feels guilty about your shawl." 

"Oh it's a fearful old thing!" his companion 
placidly answered. " I told her she could wear it if she 
did n't mind looking like a fright. She won't come 
here because she sees you." 

"Ah then," said Winterbourne, "I had better leave 
you." 

" Oh no come on ! " the girl insisted. 

" I 'm afraid your mother does n't approve of my 
walking with you." 

She gave him, he thought, the oddest glance. "It 
is n't for me ; it 's for you that is it 's for her. Well, 
I don't know who it 's for ! But mother does n't like 

3 



DAISY MILLER 

any of my gentlemen friends. She y s right down timid. 
She always makes a fuss if I introduce a gentleman. 
But I do introduce them almost always. If I 
did n't introduce my gentlemen friends to mother/' 
Miss Miller added, in her small flat monotone, "I 
should n't think I was natural." 

"Well, to introduce me," Winterbourne remarked, 
"you must know my name/' And he proceeded to 
pronounce it. 

"Oh my I can't say all that!" cried his com- 
panion, much amused. But by this time they had 
come up to Mrs. Miller, who, as they drew near, 
walked to the parapet of the garden and leaned on it, 
looking intently at the lake and presenting her back to 
them. " Mother ! " said the girl in a tone of decision 
upon which the elder lady turned round. "Mr. 
Frederick Forsyth Winterbourne," said the latter's 
young friend, repeating his lesson of a moment before 
and introducing him very frankly and prettily. " Com- 
mon" she might be, as Mrs. Costello had pro- 
nounced her; yet what provision was made by that 
epithet for her queer little native grace ? 

Her mother was a small spare light person, with a 
wandering eye, a scarce perceptible nose, and, as to 
make up for it, an unmistakeable forehead, decorated 
but too far back, as Winterbourne mentally de- 
scribed it with thin much-frizzled hair. Like her 
daughter Mrs. Miller was dressed with extreme 
elegance; she had enormous diamonds in her ears. 
So far as the young man could observe, she gave 
him no greeting she certainly was n't looking 
at him. Daisy was near her, pulling her shawl 

31 



DAISY MILLER 

time to commit himself to this questionable mixture of 
gallantry and impiety, the young lady, resuming her 
walk, gave an exclamation in quite another tone. 
" Well, here's mother! I guess she hasnt got Ran- 
dolph to go to bed." The figure of a lady appeared, at 
a distance, very indistinct in the darkness ; it advanced 
with a slow and wavering step and then suddenly 
seemed to pause. 

"Are you sure it's your mother? Can you make 
her out in this thick dusk ? " Winterbourne asked. 

"Well," the girl laughed, "I guess I know my 
own mother ! And when she has got on my shawl too. 
She 's always wearing my things." 

The lady in question, ceasing now to approach, 
hovered vaguely about the spot at which she had 
checked her steps. 

" I 'm afraid your mother does n't see you," said 
Winterbourne. "Or perhaps," he added thinking, 
with Miss Miller, the joke permissible " perhaps 
she feels guilty about your shawl." 

"Oh it's a fearful old thing!" his companion 
placidly answered. " I told her she could wear it if she 
did n't mind looking like a fright. She won't come 
here because she sees you." 

"Ah then," said Winterbourne, "I had better leave 
you." 

" Oh no come on ! " the girl insisted. 
" I 'm afraid your mother does n't approve of my 
walking with you." 

She gave him, he thought, the oddest glance. "It 
is n't for me ; it 's for you that is it 's for her. Well, 
I don't know who it *s for ! But mother does n't like 

3 



DAISY MILLER 

any of my gentlemen friends. She 's right down timid. 
She always makes a fuss if I introduce a gentleman. 
But I do introduce them almost always. If I 
did n't introduce my gentlemen friends to mother/' 
Miss Miller added, in her small flat monotone, "I 
should n't think I was natural." 

"Well, to introduce me," Winterbourne remarked, 
"you must know my name." And he proceeded to 
pronounce it. 

"Oh my I can't say all that!" cried his com- 
panion, much amused. But by this time they had 
come up to Mrs. Miller, who, as they drew near, 
walked to the parapet of the garden and leaned on it, 
looking intently at the lake and presenting her back to 
them. " Mother ! " said the girl in a tone of decision 
upon which the elder lady turned round. "Mr. 
Frederick Forsyth Winterbourne," said the latter's 
young friend, repeating his lesson of a moment before 
and introducing him very frankly and prettily. " Com- 
mon" she might be, as Mrs. Costello had pro- 
nounced her; yet what provision was made by that 
epithet for her queer little native grace ? 

Her mother was a small spare light person, with a 
wandering eye, a scarce perceptible nose, and, as to 
make up for it, an unmistakeable forehead, decorated 
but too far back, as Winterbourne mentally de- 
scribed it with thin much-frizzled hair. Like her 
daughter Mrs. Miller was dressed with extreme 
elegance; she had enormous diamonds in her ears. 
So far as the young man could observe, she gave 
him no greeting she certainly was n't looking 
at him. Daisy was near her, pulling her shawl 

31 



DAISY MILLER 

straight. "What are you doing, poking round here ? " 
this young lady enquired yet by no means with 
the harshness of accent her choice of words might 
have implied. 

"Well, I don't know" and the new-comer 
turned to the lake again. 

" I should n't think you 'd want that shawl ! " Daisy 
familiarly proceeded. 

"Well I do 1 " her mother answered with a sound 
that partook for Winterbourne of an odd strain be- 
tween mirth and woe. 

"Did you get Randolph to go to bed?" Daisy 
asked. 

"No, I could n't induce him" and Mrs. Miller 
seemed to confess to the same mild fatalism as her 
daughter. " He wants to talk to the waiter. He likes 
to talk to that waiter." 

"I was just telling Mr. Winterbourne," the girl 
went on ; and to the young man's ear her tone might 
have indicated that she had been uttering his name all 
her life. 

"Oh yes!" he concurred "I've the pleasure of 
knowing your son." 

Randolph's mamma was silent; she kept her atten- 
tion on the lake. But at last a sigh broke from her. 
"Well, I don't see how he lives!" 

"Anyhow, it is n't so bad as it was at Dover," Daisy 
at least opined. 

"And what occurred at Dover?" Winterbourne 
desired to know. 

"He would n't go to bed at all. I guess he sat up 
all night in the public parlour. He wasn't in 

3* 



DAISY MILLER 

bed at twelve o'clock : it seemed as if he could n't 
budge/' 

"It was half-past twelve when / gave up/* Mrs. 
Miller recorded with passionless accuracy. 

It was of great interest to Winterbourne. " Does he 
sleep much during the day ? " 

"I guess he doesn't sleep very much/* Daisy 
rejoined. 

" I wish he just would! " said her mother. " It seems 
as if he must make it up somehow.'* 

"Well, I guess it *s we that make it up. I think he 's 
real tiresome," Daisy pursued. 

After which, for some moments, there was silence. 
"Well, Daisy Miller," the elder lady then unexpect- 
edly broke out, " I should n't think you 'd want to talk 
against your own brother ! " 

"Well, he is tiresome, mother/' said the girl, but 
with no sharpness of insistence. 

"Well, he's only nine," Mrs. Miller lucidly urged. 

"Well, he would n't go up to that castle, anyway," 
her daughter replied as for accommodation. "I'm 
going up there with Mr. Winterbourne." 

To this announcement, very placidly made, Daisy's 
parent offered no response. Winterbourne took for 
granted on this that she opposed such a course; but 
he said to himself at the same time that she was a 
simple easily-rmanaged person and that a few deferen- 
tial protestationlTwould modify her attitude. "Yes," 
he therefore interposed, "your daughter has kindly 
allowed me the honour of being her guide." 

Mrs. Miller's wandering eyes attached themselves 
with an appealing air to her other companion, who, 

33 



DAISY MILLER 

however, strolled a few steps further, gently humming 
to herself. " I presume you '11 go in the cars," she then 
quite colourlessly remarked. 

"Yes, or in the boat," said Winterbourne. 

"Well, of course I don't know," Mrs. Miller re- 
turned. " I 've never been up to that castle." 

" It is a pity you should n't go," he observed, begin- 
ning to feel reassured as to her opposition. And yet he 
was quite prepared to find that as a matter of course 
she meant to accompany her daughter. 

It was on this view accordingly that light was pro- 
jected for him. "We've been thinking ever so much 
about going, but it seems as if we could n't. Of course 
Daisy she wants to go round everywhere. But 
there 's a lady here I don't know her name she 
says she should n't think we 'd want to go to see castles 
here; she should think we 'd want to wait till we got t' 
Italy. It seems as if there would be so many there," 
continued Mrs. Miller with an air of increasing con- 
fidence. " Of course we only want to see the principal 
ones. We visited several in England," she presently 
added. 

"Ah yes, in England there are beautiful castles," 
said Winterbourne. " But Chillon here is very well 
worth seeing." 

"Well, if Daisy feels up to it " said Mrs. 
Miller in a tone that seemed to break under the bur- 
den of such conceptions. "It seems as if there's 
nothing she won't undertake." 

"Oh I'm pretty sure she'll enjoy it!" Winter- 
bourne declared. And he desired more and more to 
make it a certainty that he was to have the privilege of 

34 



DAISY MILLER 

a tete-a-tete with the young lady who was still strolling 
along in front of them and softly vocalising. " You 're 
not disposed, madam," he enquired, "to make the so 
interesting excursion yourself?" 

So addressed Daisy's mother looked at him an in- 
stant with a certain scared obliquity and then walked 
forward in silence. Then, "I guess she had better 
go alone," she said simply. 

It gave him occasion to note that this was a very dif- 
ferent type of maternity from that of the vigilant 
matrons who massed themselves in the forefront of 
social intercourse in the dark old city at the other end 
of the lake. But his meditations were interrupted by 
hearing his name very distinctly pronounced by Mrs. 
Miller's unprotected daughter. " Mr. Winterbourne ! " 
she piped from a considerable distance. 

"Mademoiselle!" said the young man. 

"Don't you want to take me out in a boat?" 

"At present?" he asked. 

"Why of course!" she gaily returned. 

"Well, Annie Miller!" exclaimed her mother. 

"I beg you, madam, to let her go," he hereupon 
eagerly pleaded ; so instantly had he been struck with 
the romantic side of this chance to guide through the 
summer starlight a skiff freighted with a fresh and 
beautiful young girl. 

"I shouldn't think she'd want to," said her 
mother. "I should think she'd rather go indoors." 

" I 'm sure Mr. Winterbourne wants to take me," 
Daisy declared. " He 's so awfully devoted ! " 

" I '11 row you over to Chillon under the stars. " 

"I don't believe it!" Daisy laughed. 

35 



DAISY MILLER 

"Well!" the elder lady again gasped, as in rebuke 
of this freedom. 

"You haven't spoken to me for half an hour," 
her daughter went on. 

"I've been having some very pleasant conversa- 
tion with your mother," Winterbourne replied. 

"Oh pshaw! I want you to take me out in a 
boat ! " Daisy went on as if nothing else had been said. 
They had all stopped and she had turned round and 
was looking at her friend. Her face wore a charming 
smile, her pretty eyes gleamed in the darkness, she 
swung her great fan about. No, he felt, it was im- 
possible to be prettier than that. 

"There are half a dozen boats moored at that 
landing-place," and he pointed to a range of steps 
that descended from the garden to the lake. " If you '11 
do me the honour to accept my arm we '11 go and select 
one of them." 

She stood there smiling; she threw back her head; 
she laughed as for the drollery of this. " I like a gen- 
tleman to be formal ! " 

"I assure you it's a formal offer." 

" I was bound I 'd make you say something," Daisy 
agreeably mocked. 

"You see it's not very difficult," said Winter- 
bourne. " But I 'm afraid you *re chaffing me." 

" I think not, sir," Mrs. Miller shyly pleaded. 

" Do then let me give you a row," he persisted to 
Daisy. 

" It 's quite lovely, the way you say that ! " she cried 
in reward 

"It will be still more lovely to do it." 

36 



DAISY MILLER 

" Yes, it would be lovely ! " But she made no move- 
ment to accompany him; she only remained an ele- 
gant image of free light irony. 

" I guess you 'd better find out what time it is/' her 
mother impartially contributed. 

"It's eleven o'clock, Madam," said a voice with a 
foreign accent out of the neighbouring darkness; and 
Winterbourne, turning, recognised the florid person- 
age he had already seen in attendance. He had ap- 
parently just approached. 

"Oh Eugenio," said Daisy, "I'm going out with 
Mr. Winterbourne in a boat!" 

Eugenio bowed. "At this hour of the night, Made- 
moiselle ? " 

" I 'm going with Mr. Winterbourne," she repeated 
with her shining smile. " I 'm going this very minute." 

"Do tell her she can't, Eugenio," Mrs. Miller said 
to the courier, 

"I think you had better not go out in a boat, 
Mademoiselle," the man declared. 

Winterbourne wished to goodness this pretty girl 
were not on such familiar terms with her courier; but 
he said nothing, and she meanwhile added to his 
ground. "I suppose you don't think it's proper! 
My ! " she wailed ; " Eugenio does n't think anything 's 
proper." 

" I 'm nevertheless quite at your service," Winter- 
bourne hastened to remark. 

"Does Mademoiselle propose to go alone ?" Euge- 
nio asked of Mrs. Miller. 

"Oh no, with this gentleman!" cried Daisy's 
mamma for reassurance. 

37 



DAISY MILLER 

"I meant alone with the gentleman." The courier 
looked for a moment at Winterbourne the latter 
seemed to make out in his face a vague presumptuous 
intelligence as at the expense of their companions 
and then solemnly and with a bow, "As Mademoiselle 
pleases !" he said. 

But Daisy broke off at this. "Oh I hoped you'd 
make a fuss ! I don't care to go now." 

"Ah but I myself shall make a fuss if you don't go," 
Winterbourne declared with spirit. 

"That's all I want a little fuss!" With which 
she began to laugh again. 

"Mr. Randolph has retired for the night!" the 
courier hereupon importantly announced. 

"Oh Daisy, now we can go then!" cried Mrs. 
Miller. 

Her daughter turned away from their friend, all 
lighted with her odd perversity. "Good-night I 
hope you're disappointed or disgusted or some- 
thing!" 

He looked at her gravely, taking her by the hand she 
offered. " I 'm puzzled, if you want to know ! " he an- 
swered. 

"Well, I hope it won't keep you awake!" she said 
very smartly; and, under the escort of the privileged 
Eugenic, the two ladies passed toward the house. 

Winterbourne's eyes followed them ; he was indeed 
quite mystified. He lingered beside the lake a quarter 
of an hour, baffled by the question of the girl's sudden 
familiarities and caprices. But the only very definite 
conclusion he came to was that he should enjoy 
deucedly "going off" with her somewhere. 

38 



DAISY MILLER 

Two days later he went off with her to the Castle of 
Chillon. He waited for her in the large hall of the 
hotel, where the couriers, the servants, the foreign tour- 
ists were lounging about and staring. It was n't the 
place he would have chosen for a tryst, but she had 
placidly appointed it. She came tripping downstairs, 
buttoning her long gloves, squeezing her folded para- 
sol against her pretty figure, dressed exactly in the way 
that consorted best, to his fancy, with their adventure. 
He was a man of imagination and, as our ancestors 
used to say, of sensibility; as he took in her charming 
air and caught from the great staircase her impatient 
confiding step the note of some small sweet strain of 
romance, not intense but clear and sweet, seemed to 
sound for their start. He could have believed he was 
really going "off" with her. He led her out through 
all the idle people assembled they all looked at 
her straight and hard: she had begun to chatter as 
soon as she joined him. His preference had been that 
they should be conveyed to Chillon in a carriage, but 
she expressed a lively wish to go in the little steamer 
there would be such a lovely breeze upon the water 
and they should see such lots of people. The sail 
was n't long, but Winterbourne's companion found 
time for many characteristic remarks and other de- 
monstrations, not a few of which were, from the ex- 
tremity of their candour, slightly disconcerting. To 
the young man himself their small excursion showed 
so for delightfully irregular and incongruously intim- 
ate that, even allowing for her habitual sense of free- 
dom, he had some expectation of seeing her appear to 
find in it the same savour. But it must be confessed 

39 



DAISY MILLER 

that he was in this particular rather disappointed. 
Miss Miller was highly animated, she was in the 
brightest spirits ; but she was clearly not at all in a nerv- 
ous flutter as she should have been to match bis 
tension ; she avoided neither his eyes nor those of any 
one else; she neither coloured from an awkward con- 
sciousness when she looked at him nor when she saw 
that people were looking at herself. People continued 
to look at her a great deal, and Winterbourne could at 
least take pleasure in his pretty companion's distin- 
guished air. He had been privately afraid she would 
talk loud, laugh overmuch, and even perhaps desire to 
move extravagantly about the boat. But he quite for- 
got his fears ; he sat smiling with his eyes on her face 
while, without stirring from her place, she delivered 
herself of a great number of original reflexions. It was 
the most charming innocent prattle he had ever heard, 
for, by his own experience hitherto, when young per- 
sons were so ingenuous they were less articulate and 
when they were so confident were more sophisticated. 
If he had assented to the idea that she was "common," 
at any rate, was she proving so, after all, or was he 
simply getting used to her commonness? Her dis- 
course was for the most part of what immediately and 
superficially surrounded them, but there were mo- 
ments when it threw out a longer look or took a sud- 
den straight plunge, 

"What on earth are you so solemn about?" she 
suddenly demanded, fixing her agreeable eyes on her 
friend's. 

"Am I solemn ?" he asked. "I had an idea I was 
grinning from ear to ear." 

40 



DAISY MILLER 

"You look as if you were taking me to a prayer- 
meeting or a funeral. If that's a grin your ears are 
very near together/* 

"Should you like me to dance a hornpipe on the 
deck?" 

" Pray do, and I '11 carry round your hat. It will pay 
the expenses of our journey." 

"I never was better pleased in my life," Winter- 
bourne returned. 

She looked at him a moment, then let it renew her 
amusement. "I like to make you say those things. 
You 're a queer mixture ! " 

In the castle, after they had landed, nothing could 
exceed the light independence of her humour. She 
tripped about the vaulted chambers, rustled her skirts 
in the corkscrew staircases, flirted back with a pretty 
little cry and a shudder from the edge of the oubliettes 
and turned a singularly well-shaped ear to everything 
Winterbourne told her about the place. But he saw 
she cared little for mediaeval history and that the grim 
ghosts of Chillon loomed but faintly before her. They 
had the good fortune to have been able to wander 
without other society than that of their guide; and 
Winterbourne arranged with this companion that they 
should n't be hurried that they should linger and 
pause wherever they chose. He interpreted the bar- 
gain generously Winterbourne on his side had been 
generous and ended by leaving them quite to them- 
selves. Miss Miller's observations were marked by no 
logical consistency; for anything she wanted to say 
she was sure to find a pretext. She found a great many, 
in the tortuous passages and rugged embrasures 

41 



DAISY MILLER 

of the place, for asking her young man sudden ques- 
tions about himself, his family, his previous history, 
his tastes, his habits, his designs, and for supplying 
information on corresponding points in her own situa- 
tion. Of her own tastes, habits and designs the charm- 
ing creature was prepared to give the most definite and 
indeed the most favourable account. 

"Well, I hope you know enough!" she exclaimed 
after Winterbourne had sketched for her something 
of the story of the unhappy Bonnivard. " I never saw 
a man that knew so much ! " The history of Bonnivard 
had evidently, as they say, gone into one ear and out 
of the other. But this easy erudition struck her none 
the less as wonderful, and she was soon quite sure she 
wished Winterbourne would travel with them and 
"go round " with them: they too in that case might 
learn something about something. " Don't you want 
to come and teach Randolph ? " she asked ; " I guess 
he'd improve with a gentleman teacher." Winter- 
bourne was certain that nothing could possibly please 
him so much, but that he had unfortunately other 
occupations. "Other occupations? I don't believe 
a speck of it!" she protested. "What do you mean 
now ? You 're not in business." The young man al- 
lowed that he was not in business, but he had engage- 
ments which even within a day or two would necessi- 
tate his return to Geneva. "Oh bother ! " she panted, 
"I don't believe it!" and she began to talk about 
something else. But a few moments later, when he 
was pointing out to her the interesting design of an 
antique fireplace, she broke out irrelevantly: "You 
don't mean to say you 're going back to Geneva ? " 



DAISY MILLER 

"It is a melancholy fact that I shall have to report 
myself there to-morrow/' 

She met it with a vivacity that could only flatter 
him. "Well, Mr. Winterbourne, I think you're hor- 
rid!" 

"Oh don't say such dreadful things!" he quite 
sincerely pleaded "just at the last." 

" The last ? " the girl cried ; " I call it the very first ! 
I 've half a mind to leave you here and go straight back 
to the hotel alone." And for the next ten minutes she 
did nothing but call him horrid. Poor Winterbourne 
was fairly bewildered; no young lady had as yet done 
him the honour to be so agitated by the mention 
of his personal plans. His companion, after this, 
ceased to pay any attention to the curiosities of Chillon 
or the beauties of the lake; she opened fire on the 
special charmer in Geneva whom she appeared to 
have instantly taken it for granted that he was hurry- 
ing back to see. How did Miss Daisy Miller know 
of that agent of his fate in Geneva ? Winterbourne, 
who denied the existence of such a person, was quite 
unable to discover; and he was divided between 
amazement at the rapidity of her induction and amuse- 
ment at the directness of her criticism. She struck him 
afresh, in all this, as an extraordinary mixture of inno- 
cence and crudity. " Does she never allow you more 
than three days at a time ? " Miss Miller wished ironic- 
ally to know. "Does n't she give you a vacation in 
summer ? there 's no one so hard-worked but they 
can get leave to go off somewhere at this season. I 
suppose if you stay another day she '11 come right after 
you in the boat. Do wait over till Friday and I '11 go 

43 



DAISY MILLER 

down to the landing to see her arrive ! " He began 
at last even to feel he had been wrong to be disap- 
pointed in the temper in which his young lady had 
embarked. If he had missed the personal accent, the 
personal accent was now making its appearance. It 
sounded very distinctly, toward the end, in her telling 
him she'd stop "teasing" him if he'd promise her 
solemnly to come down to Rome that winter. 

"That's not a difficult promise to make," he hast- 
ened to acknowledge. "My aunt has taken an apart- 
ment in Rome from January and has already asked 
me to come and see her." 

"I don't want you to come for your aunt," said 
Daisy ; " I want you just to come for me." And this 
was the only allusion he was ever to hear her make 
again to his invidious kinswoman. He promised her 
that at any rate he would certainly come, and after 
this she forbore from teasing. Winterbourne took a 
carriage and they drove back to Vevey in the dusk ; 
the girl at his side, her animation a little spent, was 
now quite distractingly passive. 

In the evening he mentioned to Mrs. Costello that 
he had spent the afternoon at Chillon with Miss Daisy 
Miller. 

"The Americans of the courier?" asked this 
lady. 

"Ah happily the courier stayed at home/* 

"She went with you all alone?" 

"All alone." 

Mrs. Costello sniffed a little at her smelling-bottle. 
"And that," she exclaimed, "is the little abomination 
you wanted me to know ! " 



Ill 

WINTERBOURNE, who had returned to Geneva the day 
after his excursion to Chillon, went to Rome toward the 
end of January. His aunt had been established there 
a considerable time and he had received from her 
a couple of characteristic letters. "Those people you 
were so devoted to last summer at Vevey have turned 
up here, courier and all," she wrote. "They seem to 
have made several acquaintances, but the courier con- 
tinues to be the most intlme. The young lady, how- 
ever, is also very intimate with various third-rate Ital- 
ians, with whom she rackets about in a way that makes 
much talk. Bring me that pretty novel of Cherbuliez's 
* Paule Mere ' and don't come later than the23d." 

Our friend would in the natural course of events, 
on arriving in Rome, have presently ascertained Mrs. 
Miller's address at the American banker's and gone 
to pay his compliments to Miss Daisy. "After what 
happened at Vevey I certainly think I may call upon 
them," he said to Mrs. Costello. 

" If after what happens at Vevey and every- 
where you desire to keep up the acquaintance, 
you 're very welcome. Of course you 're not squeam- 
ish a man may know every one. Men are welcome 
to the privilege ! " 

"Pray what is it then that 'happens* here for 
instance ? " Winterbourne asked. 

"Well, the girl tears about alone with her unmis- 

45 



DAISY MILLER 

takeably low foreigners. As to what happens further 
you must apply elsewhere for information. She has 
picked up half a dozen of the regular Roman fortune- 
hunters of the inferior sort and she takes them about 
to such houses as she may put her nose into. When she 
comes to a party such a party as she can come to 
she brings with her a gentleman with a good deal of 
manner and a wonderful moustache/* 
"And where 's the mother ?" 
"I haven't the least idea. They're very dreadful 
people." 

Winterbourne thought them over in these new 
lights. " They 're very ignorant very innocent only, 
and utterly uncivilised. Depend on it they're not 
'bad.'" 

"They're hopelessly vulgar," said Mrs. Costello. 
" Whether or no being hopelessly vulgar is being * bad ' 
is a question for the metaphysicians. They're bad 
enough to blush for, at any rate; and for this short life 
that 's quite enough." 

The news that his little friend the child of nature of 
the Swiss lakeside was now surrounded by half a 
dozen wonderful moustaches checked Winterbourne's 
impulse to go straightway to see her. He had perhaps 
not definitely flattered himself that he had made an 
ineffaceable impression upon her heart, but he was 
annoyed at hearing of a state of affairs so little in har- 
mony with an image that had lately flitted in and out 
of his own meditations ; the image of a very pretty girl 
looking out of an old Roman window and asking her- 
self urgently when Mr. Winterbourne would arrive. 
If, however, he determined to wait a little before re- 



DAISY MILLER 

minding this young lady of his claim to her faithful 
remembrance, he called with more promptitude on 
two or three other friends. One of these friends was an 
American lady who had spent several winters at 
Geneva, where she had placed her children at school. 
She was a very accomplished woman and she lived in 
Via Gregoriana. Winterbourne found her in a little 
crimson drawing-room on a third floor; the room was 
filled with southern sunshine. He had n't been there 
ten minutes when the servant, appearing in the door- 
way, announced complacently "Madame Mila!" 
This announcement was presently followed by the 
entrance of little Randolph Miller, who stopped in the 
middle of the room and stood staring at Winter- 
bourne. An instant later his pretty sister crossed the 
threshold ; and then, after a considerable interval, the 
parent of the pair slowly advanced. 

"I guess I know you!" Randolph broke ground 
without delay. 

"I 'm sure you know a great many things" and 
his old friend clutched him all interestedly by the 
arm. "How's your education coming on ?" 

Daisy was engaged in some pretty babble with her 
hostess, but when she heard Winterbourne's voice she 
quickly turned her head with a "Well, I declare!" 
which he met smiling. " I told you I should come, you 
know." 

"Well, I did n't believe it," she answered. 

"I'm much obliged to you for that," laughed the 
young man. 

"You might have come to see me then," Daisy went 
on as if they had parted the week before. 

47 



DAISY MILLER 

" I arrived only yesterday." 

" I don't believe any such thing ! " the girl declared 
afresh. 

Winterbourne turned with a protesting smile to her 
mother, but this lady evaded his glance and, seating 
herself, fixed her eyes on her son. " We 've got a bigger 
place than this," Randolph hereupon broke out. " It 's 
all gold on the walls." 

Mrs. Miller, more of a fatalist apparently than ever, 
turned uneasily in her chair. " I told you if I was to 
bring you you 'd say something ! " she stated as for the 
benefit of such of the company as might hear it. 

"I told you!" Randolph retorted. " I tell you, sir ! " 
he added jocosely, giving Winterbourne a thump on 
the knee. "It is bigger too! " 

As Daisy's conversation with her hostess still occu- 
pied her Winterbourne judged it becoming to address 
a few words to her mother such as " I hope you 've 
been well since we parted at Vevey." 

Mrs. Miller now certainly looked at him at his 
chin. "Not very well, sir," she answered. 

"She's got the dyspepsia," said Randolph. "I've 
got it too. Father 's got it bad. But I Ve got it worst ! " 
This proclamation, instead of embarrassing Mrs. 
Miller, seemed to soothe her by reconstituting the 
environment to which she was most accustomed. "I 
suffer from the liver," she amiably whined to Winter- 
bourne. "I think it's this climate; it's less bracing 
than Schenectady, especially in the winter season. I 
don't know whether you know we reside at Schenec- 
tady. I was saying to Daisy that I certainly had n't 
found any one like Dr. Davis and I did n't believe I 



DAISY MILLER 

would. Oh up in Schenectady, he stands first; they 
think everything of Dr. Davis. He has so much to do, 
and yet there was nothing he would n't do for me. He 
said he never saw anything like my dyspepsia, but he 
was bound to get at it. I 'm sure there was nothing he 
would n't try, and I did n't care what he did to me if 
he only brought me relief. He was just going to try 
something new, and I just longed for it, when we came 
right off. Mr. Miller felt as if he wanted Daisy to see 
Europe for herself. But I could n't help writing the 
other day that I supposed it was all right for Daisy, 
but that I did n't know as I could get on much longer 
without Dr. Davis. At Schenectady he stands at the 
very top ; and there 's a great deal of sickness there too. 
It affects my sleep." 

Winterbourne had a good deal of pathological 
gossip with Dr. Davis's patient, during which Daisy 
chattered unremittingly to her own companion. The 
young man asked Mrs. Miller how she was pleased 
with Rome. "Well, I must say I'm disappointed,'* 
she confessed. "We had heard so much about it I 
suppose we had heard too much. But we could n't help 
that. We had been led to expect something different." 

Winterbourne, however, abounded in reassurance. 
"Ah wait a little, and you '11 grow very fond of it." 

" I hate it worse and worse every day ! " cried Ran- 
dolph. 

"You're like the infant Hannibal," his friend 
laughed. 

"No I ain't like any infant!" Randolph declared 
at a venture. 

"Well, that's so and you never were!" his 

49 



DAISY MILLER 

mother concurred. "But we've seen places," she 
resumed, "that I 'd put a long way ahead of Rome/' 
And in reply to Winterbourne's interrogation, 
"There's Zurich up there in the mountains," 
she instanced; "I think Zurich's real lovely, and we 
had n't heard half so much about it." 

"The best place we've seen's the City of Rich- 
mond!" said Randolph. 

" He means the ship," Mrs. Miller explained. " We 
crossed in that ship. Randolph had a good time on the 
City of Richmond" 

" It 's the best place / 9 ve struck," the child repeated. 
"Only it was turned the wrong way." 

"Well, we 've got to turn the right way sometime," 
said Mrs. Miller with strained but weak optimism. 
Winterbourne expressed the hope that her daughter at 
least appreciated the so various interest of Rome, and 
she declared with some spirit that Daisy was quite 
carried away. " It 's on account of the society the 
society's splendid. She goes round everywhere; she 
has made a great number of acquaintances. Of course 
she goes round more than I do. I must say they 've all 
been very sweet they've taken her right in. And 
then she knows a great many gentlemen. Oh she 
thinks there 's nothing like Rome. Of course it 's a 
great deal pleasanter for a young lady if she knows 
plenty of gentlemen." 

By this time Daisy had turned her attention again 
to Winterbourne, but in quite the same free form. 
" I 've been telling Mrs. Walker how mean you were ! " 

"And what's the evidence you 've offered ?" he 
asked, a trifle disconcerted, for all his superior gal- 

5 



DAISY MILLER 

lantry, by her inadequate measure of the zeal of an 
admirer who on his way down to Rome had stopped 
neither at Bologna nor at Florence, simply because of 
a certain sweet appeal to his fond fancy, not to say to 
his finest curiosity. He remembered how a cynical 
compatriot had once told him that American women 
the pretty ones, and this gave a largeness to the 
axiom were at once the most exacting in the world 
and the least endowed with a sense of indebtedness. 

"Why you were awfully mean up at Vevey," Daisy 
said. "You wouldn't do most anything. You 
would n't stay there when I asked you." 

"Dearest young lady," cried Winterbourne, with 
generous passion, "have I come all the way to Rome 
only to be riddled by your silver shafts ? " 

" Just hear him say that ! " and she gave an affec- 
tionate twist to a bow on her hostess's dress. " Did you 
ever hear anything so quaint ? " 

"So * quaint,' my dear ?" echoed Mrs. Walker more 
critically quite in the tone of a partisan of Winter- 
bourne. 

"Well, I don't know" and the girl continued to 
finger her ribbons. "Mrs. Walker, I want to tell you 
something." 

"Say, mother-r," broke in Randolph with his rough 
ends to his words, "I tell you you've got to go. 
Eugenio'il raise something!" 

" I 'm not afraid of Eugenio," said Daisy with a toss 
of her head. " Look here, Mrs. Walker," she went on, 
"you know I'm coming to your party." 

"I 'm delighted to hear it." 

"I've got a lovely dress." 

51 



DAISY MILLER 

"I *m very sure of that." 

"But I want to ask a favour permission to bring 
a friend." 

"I shall be happy to see any of your friends," 
said Mrs. Walker, who turned with a smile to Mrs. 
Miller. 

"Oh they "re not my friends," cried that lady, 
squirming in shy repudiation. "It seems as if they 
did n't take to me I never spoke to one of them !" 

"It's an intimate friend of mine, Mr. Giovanelli," 
Daisy pursued without a tremor in her young clear- 
ness or a shadow on her shining bloom. 

Mrs. Walker had a pause and gave a rapid glance at 
Winterbourne. "I shall be glad to see Mr. Giovan- 
elli," she then returned. 

"He's just the finest kind of Italian," Daisy pur- 
sued with the prettiest serenity. " He 's a great friend 
of mine and the handsomest man in the world ex- 
cept Mr. Winterbourne! He knows plenty of Italians, 
but he wants to know some Americans. It seems as if 
he was crazy about Americans. He's tremendously 
bright. He's perfectly lovely!" 

It was settled that this paragon should be brought 
to Mrs. Walker's party, and then Mrs. Miller pre- 
pared to take her leave. " I guess we '11 go right back 
to the hotel," she remarked with a confessed failure of 
the larger imagination. 

"You may go back to the hotel, mother," Daisy 
replied, "but I *m just going to walk round." 

"She's going to go it with Mr. Giovanelli," Ran- 
dolph unscrupulously commented. 

"I'm going to go it on the Pincio," Daisy peace- 



DAISY MILLER 

ably smiled, while the way that she "condoned" 
these things almost melted Winterbourne's heart. 

"Alone, my dear at this hour?" Mrs. Walker 
asked. The afternoon was drawing to a close it 
was the hour for the throng of carriages and of con- 
templative pedestrians. "I don't consider it's safe, 
Daisy," her hostess firmly asserted. 

"Neither do I then," Mrs. Miller thus borrowed 
confidence to add. "You'll catch the fever as sure as 
you live. Remember what Dr. Davis told you ! " 

"Give her some of that medicine before she starts 
in," Randolph suggested. 

The company had risen to its feet; Daisy, still show- 
ing her pretty teeth, bent over and kissed her hostess. 
"Mrs. Walker, you're too perfect," she simply said. 
"I 'm not going alone; I 'm going to meet a friend." 

"Your friend won't keep you from catching the 
fever even if it is his own second nature," Mrs. Miller 
observed. 

"Is it Mr. Giovanelli that's the dangerous attrac- 
tion ? " Mrs. Walker asked without mercy. 

Winterbourne was watching the challenged girl; at 
this question his attention quickened. She stood there 
smiling and smoothing her bonnet-ribbons; she 
glanced at Winterbourne. Then, while she glanced 
and smiled, she brought out all affirmatively and 
without a shade of hesitation : "Mr. Giovanelli the 
beautiful Giovanelli." 

"My dear young friend" and, taking her hand, 
Mrs. Walker turned to pleading "don't prowl off 
to the Pincio at this hour to meet a beautiful Ital- 



ian." 



53 



DAISY MILLER 

"Well, he speaks first-rate English," Mrs. Miller 
incoherently mentioned. 

" Gracious me, " Daisy piped up, " I don't want to 
do anything that 's going to affect my health or my 
character either ! There 's an easy way to settle it." 
Her eyes continued to play over Winterbourne. " The 
Pincio 's only a hundred yards off, and if Mr. Winter- 
bourne were as polite as he pretends he'd offer to 
walk right in with me ! " 

Winterbourne's politeness hastened to proclaim 
itself, and the girl gave him gracious leave to accom- 
pany her. They passed downstairs before her mo- 
ther, and at the door he saw Mrs. Miller's carriage 
drawn up, with the ornamental courier whose acquaint- 
ance he had made at Vevey seated within. "Good- 
bye, Eugenio," cried Daisy; "I'm going to take a 
walk!" The distance from Via Gregoriana to the 
beautiful garden at the other end of the Pincian 
Hill is in fact rapidly traversed. As the day was 
splendid, however, and the concourse of vehicles, 
walkers and loungers numerous, the young Ameri- 
cans found their progress much delayed. This fact 
was highly agreeable to Winterbourne, in spite of 
his consciousness of his singular situation. The slow- 
moving, idly-gazing Roman crowd bestowed much 
attention on the extremely pretty young woman 
of English race who passed through it, with some 
difficulty, on his arm; and he wondered what on 
earth had been in Daisy's mind when she proposed 
to exhibit herself unattended to its appreciation. His 
own mission, to her sense, was apparently to consign 
her to the hands of Mr. Giovanelli; but, at once 

54 



DAISY MILLER 

annoyed and gratified, he resolved that he would do 
no such thing. 

"Why haven't you been to see me?" she mean- 
while asked. "You can't get out of that." 

" I 've had the honour of telling you that I 've only 
just stepped out of the train." 

"You must have stayed in the train a good while 
after it stopped ! " she derisively cried. " I suppose you 
were asleep. You've had time to go to see Mrs. 
Walker." 

"I knew Mrs. Walker " Winterbourne began to 
explain. 

"I know where you knew her. You knew her at 
Geneva. She told me so. Well, you knew me at 
Vevey. That's just as good. So you ought to have 
come." She asked him no other question than this; 
she began to prattle about her own affairs. "We've 
got splendid rooms at the hotel; Eugenio says they're 
the best rooms in Rome. We 're going to stay all win- 
ter if we don't die of the fever; and I guess we'll 
stay then! It's a great deal nicer than I thought; I 
thought it would be fearfully quiet in fact I was 
sure it would be deadly pokey. I foresaw we should 
be going round all the time with one of those dreadful 
old men who explain about the pictures and things. 
But we only had about a week of that, and now I 'm 
enjoying myself. I know ever so many people, and 
they're all so charming. The society's extremely 
select. There are all kinds English and Germans 
and Italians. I think I like the English best. I like 
their style of conversation. But there are some lovely 
Americans. I never saw anything so hospitable. 

55 



DAISY MILLER 

There 's something or other every day. There 's not 
much dancing but I must say I never thought 
dancing was everything. I was always fond of conver- 
sation. I guess I '11 have plenty at Mrs. Walker's 
her rooms are so small." When they had passed the 
gate of the Pincian Gardens Miss Miller began to 
wonder where Mr. Giovanelli might be. "We had 
better go straight to that place in front, where you 
look at the view." 

Winterbourne at this took a stand. "I certainly 
shan't help you to find him/* 

"Then I shall find him without you," Daisy said 
with spirit. 

" You certainly won't leave me ! " he protested. 
She burst into her familiar little laugh. "Are you 
afraid you'll get lost or run over? But there's 
Giovanelli leaning against that tree. He 's staring at 
the women in the carriages : did you ever see anything 
so cool?" 

Winterbourne descried hereupon at some dis- 
tance a little figure that stood with folded arms 
and nursing its cane. It had a handsome face, a hat 
artfully poised, a glass in one eye and a nosegay 
in its buttonhole. Daisy's friend looked at it a mo- 
ment and then said : * Do you mean to speak to that 
thing?" 

" Do I mean to speak to him ? Why you don't sup- 
pose I mean to communicate by signs ! " 

" Pray understand then," the young man returned, 
"that I intend to remain with you." 

Daisy stopped and looked at him without a sign of 
troubled consciousness, with nothing in her face but 

56 



DAISY MILLER 

her charming eyes, her charming teeth and her happy 
dimples. " Well, she 9 s a cool one ! " he thought. 

"I don't like the way you say that/' she declared. 
"It's too imperious." 

"I beg your pardon if I say it wrong. The main 
point's to give you an idea of my meaning." 

The girl looked at him more gravely, but with eyes 
that were prettier than ever. " I 've never allowed a 
gentleman to dictate to me or to interfere with any- 
thing I do." 

"I think that's just where your mistake has come 
in," he retorted. "You should sometimes listen to a 
gentleman the right one." 

At this she began to laugh again. "I do nothing but 
listen to gentlemen ! Tell me if Mr. Giovanelli is the 
right one." 

The gentleman with the nosegay in his bosom had 
now made out our two friends and was approaching 
Miss Miller with obsequious rapidity. He bowed to 
Winterbourne as well as to the latter's compatriot; he 
seemed to shine, in his coxcombical way, with the 
desire to please and the fact of his own intelligent joy, 
though Winterbourne thought him not a bad-looking 
fellow. But he nevertheless said to Daisy: "No, he's 
not the right one." 

She had clearly a natural turn for free introduc- 
tions ; she mentioned with the easiest grace the name 
of each of her companions to the other. She strolled 
forward with one of them on either hand ; Mr. Gio- 
vanelli, who spoke English very cleverly Winter- 
bourne afterwards learned that he had practised the 
idiom upon a great many American heiresses ad- 

57 



DAISY MILLER 

dressed her a great deal of very polite nonsense. He 
had the best possible manners, and the young Amer- 
ican, who said nothing, reflected on that depth of Ital- 
ian subtlety, so strangely opposed to Anglo-Saxon 
simplicity, which enables people to show a smoother 
surface in proportion as they're more acutely dis- 
pleased. Giovanelli of course had counted upon some- 
thing more intimate he had not bargained for a 
party of three; but he kept his temper in a manner 
that suggested far-stretching intentions. Winter- 
bourne flattered himself he had taken his measure. 
"He's anything but a gentleman," said the young 
American; "he isn't even a very plausible imitation 
of one. He 's a music-master or a penny-a-liner or a 
third-rate artist. He 's awfully on his good behaviour, 
but damn his fine eyes ! " Mr. Giovanelli had indeed 
great advantages; but it was deeply disgusting to 
Daisy's other friend that something in her should n't 
have instinctively discriminated against such a type. 
Giovanelli chattered and jested and made himself 
agreeable according to his honest Roman lights. It 
was true that if he was an imitation the imitation was 
studied. "Nevertheless/' Winterbourne said to him- 
self, "a nice girl ought to know ! " And then he came 
back to the dreadful question of whether this was in 
fact a nice girl. Would a nice girl even allowing for 
her being a little American flirt make a rendezvous 
with a presumably low-lived foreigner ? The rendez- 
vous in this case indeed had been in broad daylight and 
in the most crowded corner of Rome; but was n't it 
possible to regard the choice of these very circum- 
stances as a proof more of vulgarity than of anything 

58 



DAISY MILLER 

else ? Singular though it may seem, Winterbourne was 
vexed that the girl, in joining her amoroso, should n't 
appear more impatient of his own company, and he 
was vexed precisely because of his inclination. It was 
impossible to regard her as a wholly unspotted flower 
she lacked a certain indispensable fineness ; and it 
would therefore much simplify the situation to be able 
to treat her as the subject of one of the visitations 
known to romancers as "lawless passions." That she 
should seem to wish to get rid of him would have 
helped him to think more lightly of her, just as to be 
able to think more lightly of her would have made her 
less perplexing. Daisy at any rate continued on this 
occasion to present herself as an inscrutable combina- 
tion of audacity and innocence. 

She had been walking some quarter of an hour, at- 
tended by her two cavaliers and responding in a tone 
of very childish gaiety, as it after all struck one of 
them, to the pretty speeches of the other, when a car- 
riage that had detached itself from the revolving train 
drew up beside the path. At the same moment Win- 
terbourne noticed that his friend Mrs. Walker the 
lady whose house he had lately left was seated in 
the vehicle and was beckoning to him. Leaving Miss 
Miller's side, he hastened to obey her summons 
and all to find her flushed, excited, scandalised. " It 's 
really too dreadful " she earnestly appealed to him. 
"That crazy girl must n't do this sort of thing. She 
must n't walk here with you two men. Fifty people 
have remarked her." 

Winterbourne suddenly and rather oddly rubbed 
the wrong way by this raised his grave eyebrows. 

59 



it." 



DAISY MILLER 
think it's a pity to make too much fuss about 



"It's a pity to let the girl ruin herself!" 

"She's very innocent," he reasoned in his own 
troubled interest. 

"She's very reckless," cried Mrs. Walker, "and 
goodness knows how far left to itself it may go. 
Did you ever," she proceeded to enquire, "see any- 
thing so blatantly imbecile as the mother ? After you 
had all left me just now I could n't sit still for thinking 
of it. It seemed too pitiful not even to attempt to save 
them. I ordered the carriage and put on my bonnet 
and came here as quickly as possible. Thank heaven 
I 've found you ! " 

"What do you propose to do with us?" Winter- 
bourne uncomfortably smiled. 

"To ask her to get in, to drive her about here for 
half an hour so that the world may see she 's not 
running absolutely wild and then take her safely 
home." 

"I don't think it's a very happy thought," he said 
after reflexion, " but you 're at liberty to try." 

Mrs. Walker accordingly tried. The young man 
went in pursuit of their young lady who had simply 
nodded and smiled, from her distance, at her recent 
patroness in the carriage and then had gone her way 
with her own companion. On learning, in the event, 
that Mrs. Walker had followed her, she retraced her 
steps, however, with a perfect good grace and with 
Mr. Giovanelli at her side. She professed herself 
"enchanted " to have a chance to present this gentle- 
man to her good friend, and immediately achieved the 

60 



DAISY MILLER 

introduction; declaring with it, and as if it were of as 
little importance, that she had never in her life seen 
anything so lovely as that lady's carriage-rug. 

" I 'm glad you admire it," said her poor pursuer, 
smiling sweetly. "Will you get in and let me put it 
over you ? " 

"Oh no, thank you!" Daisy knew her mind. 
" I '11 admire it ever so much more as I see you driving 
round with it." 

" Do get in and drive round with me," Mrs. Walker 
pleaded. 

"That would be charming, but it's so fascinating 
just as I am ! " with which the girl radiantly took 
in the gentlemen on either side of her. 

" It may be fascinating, dear child, but it 's not the 
custom here," urged the lady of the victoria, leaning 
forward in this vehicle with her hands devoutly 
clasped. 

"Well, it ought to be then!" Daisy imperturbably 
laughed. "If I did n't walk I 'd expire." 

"You should walk with your mother, dear," cried 
Mrs. Walker with a loss of patience. 

"With my mother dear?" the girl amusedly 
echoed. Winterbourne saw she scented interference. 
" My mother never walked ten steps in her life. And 
then, you know," she blandly added, " I 'm more than 
five years old." 

" You 're old enough to be more reasonable. You 're 
old enough, dear Miss Miller, to be talked about." 

Daisy wondered to extravagance. "Talked about ? 
What do you mean ? " 

" Come into my carriage and I '11 tell you." 

6l 



DAISY MILLER 

Daisy turned shining eyes again from one of the 
gentlemen beside her to the other. Mr. Giovanelli 
was bowing to and fro, rubbing down his gloves and 
laughing irresponsibly; Winterbourne thought the 
scene the most unpleasant possible. "I don't think I 
want to know what you mean," the girl presently said. 
"I don't think I should like it." 

Winterbourne only wished Mrs. Walker would tuck 
up her carriage-rug and drive away; but this lady, as 
she afterwards told him, did n't feel she could "rest 
there." "Should you prefer being thought a very reck- 
less girl?" she accordingly asked. 

" Gracious me ! " exclaimed Daisy. She looked again 
at Mr. Giovanelli, then she turned to her other com- 
panion. There was a small pink flush in her cheek; she 
was tremendously pretty. "Does Mr. Winterbourne 
think," she put to him with a wonderful bright intens- 
ity of appeal, "that to save my reputation I 
ought to get into the carriage ? " 

It really embarrassed him; for an instant he cast 
about so strange was it to hear her speak that 
way of her " reputation." But he himself in fact had 
to speak in accordance with gallantry. The finest gal- 
lantry here was surely just to tell her the truth ; and 
the truth, for our young man, as the few indications I 
have been able to give have made him known to the 
reader, was that his charming friend should listen to 
the voice of civilised society. He took in again her 
exquisite prettiness and then said the more distinctly : 
" I think you should get into the carriage." 

Daisy gave the rein to her amusement. "I never 
heard anything so stiff! If this is improper, Mrs. 

62 



DAISY MILLER 

Walker," she pursued, "then I'm all improper, and 
you had better give me right up. Good-bye; I hope 
you'll have a lovely ride!" and with Mr. Gio- 
vanelli, who made a triumphantly obsequious salute, 
she turned away. 

Mrs. Walker sat looking after her, and there were 
tears in Mrs. Walker's eyes. "Get in here, sir," she 
said to Winterbourne, indicating the place beside her. 
The young man answered that he felt bound to accom- 
pany Miss Miller; whereupon the lady of the victoria 
declared that if he refused her this favour she would 
never speak to him again. She was evidently wound 
up. He accordingly hastened to overtake Daisy and 
her more faithful ally, and, offering her his hand, 
told her that Mrs. Walker had made a stringent 
claim on his presence. He had expected her to an- 
swer with something rather free, something still more 
significant of the perversity from which the voice of 
society, through the lips of their distressed friend, had 
so earnestly endeavoured to dissuade her. But she 
only let her hand slip, as she scarce looked at him, 
through his slightly awkward grasp; while Mr. 
Giovanelli, to make it worse, bade him farewell with 
too emphatic a flourish of the hat. 

Winterbourne was not in the best possible humour 
as he took his seat beside the author of his sacrifice. 
"That was not clever of you," he said candidly, as the 
vehicle mingled again with the throng of carriages. 

"In such a case," his companion answered, "I don't 
want to be clever I only want to be true!" 

"Well, your truth has only offended the strange 
little creature it has only put her off." 

63 



DAISY MILLER 

"It has happened very well" Mrs. Walker ac- 
cepted her work. " If she *s so perfectly determined 
to compromise herself the sooner one knows it the 
better one can act accordingly." 

" I suspect she meant no great harm, you know/* 
Winterbourne maturely opined. 

"So I thought a month ago. But she has been going 
too far." 

"What has she been doing?" 

"Everything that's not done here. Flirting with 
any man she can pick up; sitting in corners with mys- 
terious Italians ; dancing all the evening with the same 
partners; receiving visits at eleven o'clock at night. 
Her mother melts away when the visitors come." 

"But her brother," laughed Winterbourne, "sits 
up till two in the morning." 

" He must be edified by what he sees. I *m told that 
at their hotel every one 's talking about her and that a 
smile goes round among the servants when a gentle- 
man comes and asks for Miss Miller." 

"Ah we needn't mind the servants!" Winter- 
bourne compassionately signified. "The poor girl's 
only fault," he presently added, "is her complete lack 
of education." 

"She's naturally indelicate," Mrs. Walker, on her 
side, reasoned. "Take that example this morning. 
How long had you known her at Vevey ? " 

"A couple of days." 

"Imagine then the taste of her making it a personal 
matter that you should have left the place ! " 

He agreed that taste was n't the strong point of 
the Millers after which he was silent for some 



DAISY MILLER 

moments; but only at last to add: "I suspect, Mrs. 
Walker, that you and I have lived too long at Geneva I" 
And he further noted that he should be glad to learn 
with what particular design she had made him enter 
her carriage. 

"I wanted to enjoin on you the importance of your 
ceasing your relations with Miss Miller; that of 
your not appearing to flirt with her; that of your 
giving her no further opportunity to expose herself; 
that of your in short letting her alone/* 

" I 'm afraid I can't do anything quite so enlight- 
ened as that" he returned. "I like her awfully, you 
know/' 

"All the more reason you shouldn't help her to 
make a scandal." 

"Well, there shall be nothing scandalous in my 
attentions to her," he was willing to promise. 

"There certainly will be in the way she takes them. 
But I 've said what I had on my conscience," Mrs. 
Walker pursued. "If you wish to rejoin the young 
lady I '11 put you down. Here, by the way, you have 
a chance." 

The carriage was engaged in that part of the Pincian 
drive which overhangs the wall of Rome and over- 
looks the beautiful Villa Borghese. It is bordered by 
a large parapet, near which are several seats. One of 
these, at a distance, was occupied by a gentleman and 
a lady, toward whom Mrs. Walker gave a toss of her 
head. At the same moment these persons rose and 
walked to the parapet. Winterbourne had asked the 
coachman to stop; he now descended from the car- 
riage. His companion looked at him a moment in 

65 



DAISY MILLER 

silence and then, while he raised his hat, drove ma- 
jestically away. He stood where he had alighted ; he 
had turned his eyes toward Daisy and her cavalier. 
They evidently saw no one ; they were too deeply occu- 
pied with each other. When they reached the low 
garden-wall they remained a little looking off at the 
great flat-topped pine-clusters of Villa Borghese; then 
the girl's attendant admirer seated himself familiarly 
on the broad ledge of the wall. The western sun in the 
opposite sky sent out a brilliant shaft through a couple 
of cloud-bars ; whereupon the gallant Giovanelli took 
her parasol out of her hands and opened it. She came 
a little nearer and he held the parasol over her; then, 
still holding it, he let it so rest on her shoulder that 
both of their heads were hidden from Winterbourne. 
This young man stayed but a moment longer; then he 
began to walk. But he walked not toward the 
couple united beneath the parasol, rather toward the 
residence of his aunt Mrs. Costello. 



IV 

HE flattered himself on the following day that there 
was no smiling among the servants when he at least 
asked for Mrs. Miller at her hotel. This lady and her 
daughter, however, were not at home; and on the next 
day after, repeating his visit, Winterbourne again was 
met by a denial. Mrs. Walker's party took place on 
the evening of the third day, and in spite of the final 
reserves that had marked his last interview with that 
social critic our young man was among the guests. 
Mrs. Walker was one of those pilgrims from the 
younger world who, while in contact with the elder, 
make a point, in their own phrase, of studying Euro- 
pean society; and she had on this occasion collected 
several specimens of diversely-born humanity to 
serve, as might be, for text-books. When Winter- 
bourne arrived the little person he desired most to find 
wasn't there; but in a few moments he saw Mrs. 
Miller come in alone, very shyly and ruefully. This 
lady's hair, above the dead waste of her temples, was 
more frizzled than ever. As she approached their 
hostess Winterbourne also drew near. 

"You see I Ve come all alone/* said Daisy's unsup- 
ported parent. " I 'm so frightened I don't know what 
to do ; it *s the first time I Ve ever been to a party alone 
especially in this country. I wanted to bring Ran- 
dolph or Eugenio or some one, but Daisy just pushed 
me off by myself. I ain't used to going round alone/* 

67 



DAISY MILLER 

"And does n't your daughter intend to favour 
us with her society ? " Mrs. Walker impressively en- 
quired. 

"Well, Daisy's all dressed," Mrs. Miller testified 
with that accent of the dispassionate, if not of the 
philosophic, historian with which she always recorded 
the current incidents of her daughter's career. " She 
got dressed on purpose before dinner. But she has 
a friend of hers there; that gentleman the hand- 
somest of the Italians that she wanted to bring. 
They 've got going at the piano it seems as if they 
could n't leave off. Mr. Giovanelli does sing splen- 
didly. But I guess they'll come before very long," 
Mrs. Miller hopefully concluded. 

"I'm sorry she should come in that particular 
way," Mrs. Walker permitted herself to observe. 

"Well, I told her there was no use in her getting 
dressed before dinner if she was going to wait three 
hours," returned Daisy's mamma. " I did n't see the 
use of her putting on such a dress as that to sit round 
with Mr. Giovanelli." 

"This is most horrible ! " said Mrs. Walker, turning 
away and addressing herself to Winterbourne. "Elle 
s'affiche, la malheureuse. It's her revenge for my 
having ventured to remonstrate with her. When she 
comes I shan't speak to her." 

Daisy came after eleven o'clock, but she was n't, on 
such an occasion, a young lady to wait to be spoken to. 
She rustled forward in radiant loveliness, smiling and 
chattering, carrying a large bouquet and attended by 
Mr. Giovanelli. Every one stopped talking and 
turned and looked at her while she floated up to Mrs. 

68 



DAISY MILLER 

Walker. "I'm afraid you thought I never was com- 
ing, so I sent mother off to tell you. I wanted to make 
Mr. Giovanelli practise some things before he came; 
you know he sings beautifully, and I want you to ask 
him to sing. This is Mr. Giovanelli ; you know I in- 
troduced him to you ; he 9 s got the most lovely voice 
and he knows the most charming set of songs. I made 
him go over them this evening on purpose ; we had the 
greatest time at the hotel." Of all this Daisy delivered 
herself with the sweetest brightest loudest confidence, 
looking now at her hostess and now at all the room, 
while she gave a series of little pats, round her very 
white shoulders, to the edges of her dress. "Is there 
any one I know ? " she as undiscourageably asked. 

"I think every one knows you!" said Mrs. Walker 
as with a grand intention ; and she gave a very cursory 
greeting to Mr. Giovanelii. This gentleman bore him- 
self gallantly; he smiled and bowed and showed his 
white teeth, he curled his moustaches and rolled his 
eyes and performed all the proper functions of a hand- 
some Italian at an evening party. He sang, very pret- 
tily, half a dozen songs, though Mrs. Walker after- 
wards declared that she had been quite unable to find 
out who asked him. It was apparently not Daisy who 
had set him in motion this young lady being 
seated a distance from the piano and though she had 
publicly, as it were, professed herself his musical pa- 
troness or guarantor, giving herself to gay and audible 
discourse while he warbled. 

"It's a pity these rooms are so small; we can't 
dance," she remarked to Winterbourne as if she had 
seen him five minutes before. 



DAISY MILLER 

"I'm not sorry we can't dance," he candidly 
returned. "I'm incapable of a step/' 

"Of course you're incapable of a step," the girl 
assented. "I should think your legs would be stiff 
cooped in there so much of the time in that victoria." 

"Well, they were very restless there three days 
ago," he amicably laughed; "all they really wanted 
was to dance attendance on you." 

"Oh my other friend my friend in need stuck 
to me; he seems more at one with his limbs than you 
are I '11 say that for him. But did you ever hear 
anything so cool," Daisy demanded, "as Mrs. 
Walker's wanting me to get into her carriage and 
drop poor Mr. Giovanelli, and under the pretext that 
it was proper ? People have different ideas ! It would 
have been most unkind; he had been talking about 
that walk for ten days." 

"He should n't have talked about it at all," Winter- 
bourne decided to make answer on this: "he would 
never have proposed to a young lady of this country to 
walk about the streets of Rome with him." 

"About the streets?" she cried with her pretty 
stare. " Where then would he have proposed to her to 
walk? The Pincio ain't the streets either, I guess; 
and I besides, thank goodness, am not a young lady of 
this country. The young ladies of this country have 
a dreadfully pokey time of it, by what I can discover; 
I don't see why I should change my habits for such 
stupids." 

"I'm afraid your habits are those of a ruthless 
flirt," said Winterbourne with studied severity. 
" Of course they are ! " and she hoped, evidently, 
70 



DAISY MILLER 

by the manner of it, to take his breath away. " 1 *m a 
fearful frightful flirt ! Did you ever hear of a nice girl 
that was n't ? But I suppose you '11 tell me now I 'm 
not a nice girl/* 

He remained grave indeed under the shock of her 
cynical profession. "You're a very nice girl, but I 
wish you 'd flirt with me, and me only/' 

"Ah thank you, thank you very much: you're the 
last man I should think of flirting with. As I Ve had 
the pleasure of informing you, you 're too stiff." 

"You say that too often," he resentfully remarked. 

Daisy gave a delighted laugh. "If I could have the 
sweet hope of making you angry I 'd say it again." 

"Don't do that when I 'm angry I 'm stiffer than 
ever. But if you won't flirt with me do cease at least to 
flirt with your friend at the piano. They don't," he 
declared as in full sym pathy with "them," "under- 
stand that sort of thing here." 

" I thought they understood nothing else ! " Daisy 
cried with startling world-knowledge. 

"Not in young unmarried women." 

"It seems to me much more proper in young un- 
married than in old married ones," she retorted. 

"Well," said Winterbourne, "when you deal with 
natives you must go by the custom of the country. 
American flirting is a purely American silliness; it 
has in its ineptitude of innocence no place in 
this system. So when you show yourself in public 
with Mr, Giovanelli and without your mother " 

"Gracious, poor mother!" and she made it 
beautifully unspeakable. 

Winterbourne had a touched sense for this, but it 

71 



DAISY MILLER 

did n't alter his attitude. "Though you may be flirt- 
ing Mr. Giovanelli isn't he means something 
else." 

"He isn't preaching at any rate," she returned. 
"And if you want very much to know, we're neither 
of us flirting not a little speck. We're too good 
friends for that. We 're real intimate friends." 

He was to continue to find her thus at moments 
inimitable. "Ah," he then judged, "if you're in love 
with each other it 's another affair altogether ! " 

She had allowed him up to this point to speak so 
frankly that he had no thought of shocking her by 
the force of his logic; yet she now none the less imme- 
diately rose, blushing visibly and leaving him men- 
tally to exclaim* that the name of little American 
flirts was incoherence. "Mr. Giovanelli at least," 
she answered, sparing but a single small queer glance 
for it, a queerer small glance, he felt, than he had ever 
yet had from her "Mr. Giovanelli never says to 
me such very disagreeable things." 

It had an effect on him he stood staring. The 
subject of their contention had finished singing; he 
left the piano, and his recognition of what a little 
awkwardly did n't take place in celebration of this 
might nevertheless have been an acclaimed operatic 
tenor's series of repeated ducks before the curtain. 
So he bowed himself over to Daisy. "Won't you come 
to the other room and have some tea ? " he asked 
offering Mrs. Walker's slightly thin refreshment as he 
might have done all the kingdoms of the earth. 

Daisy at last turned on Winterbourne a more 
natural and calculable light. He was but the more 

72 



DAISY MILLER 

muddled by it, however, since so inconsequent a smile 
made nothing clear it seemed at the most to prove 
in her a sweetness and softness that reverted instinct- 
ively to the pardon of offences. " It has never oc- 
curred to Mr. Winterbourne to offer me any tea," 
she said with her finest little intention of torment and 
triumph. 

" I 've offered you excellent advice," the young man 
permitted himself to growl. 

"I prefer weak tea!" cried Daisy, and she went 
off with the brilliant Giovanelli. She sat with him in 
the adjoining room, in the embrasure of the window, 
for the rest of the evening. There was an interesting 
performance at the piano, but neither of these con- 
versers gave heed to it. When Daisy came to take 
leave of Mrs, Walker this lady conscientiously re- 
paired the weakness of which she had been guilty at 
the moment of the girl's arrival she turned her 
back straight on Miss Miller and left her to depart 
with what grace she might. Winterbourne happened 
to be neaif the door; he saw it all. Daisy turned very 
pale and looked at her mother, but Mrs. Miller was 
humbly unconscious of any rupture of any law or of 
any deviation from any custom. She appeared indeed 
to have felt an incongruous impulse to draw attention 
to her own striking conformity. "Good-night, Mrs, 
Walker," she said; "we've had a beautiful evening. 
You see if I let Daisy come to parties without me I 
don't want her to go away without me." Daisy 
turned away, looking with a small white prettiness, 
a blighted grace, at the circle near the door: Winter- 
bourne saw that for the first moment she was too 

73 



DAISY MILLER 

much shocked and puzzled even for indignation. He 
on his side was greatly touched. 

"That was very cruel," he promptly remarked to 
Mrs. Walker. 

But this lady's face was also as a stone. " She never 
enters my drawing-room again." 

Since Winterbourne then, hereupon, was not to 
meet her in Mrs. Walker's drawing-room he went as 
often as possible to Mrs. Miller's hotel. The ladies 
were rarely at home, but when he found them the 
devoted Giovanelli was always present. Very often 
the glossy little Roman, serene in success, but not 
unduly presumptuous, occupied with Daisy alone 
the florid salon enjoyed by Eugenio's care, Mrs. 
Miller being apparently ever of the opinion that dis- 
cretion is the better part of solicitude. Winterbourne 
noted, at first with surprise, that Daisy on these occa- 
sions was neither embarrassed nor annoyed by his 
own entrance; but he presently began to feel that she 
had no more surprises for him and that he really 
liked, after all, not making out what she was "up to/* 
She showed no displeasure for the interruption of her 
tete-a-tete with Giovanelli; she could chatter as freshly 
and freely with two gentlemen as with one, and this easy 
flow had ever the same anomaly for her earlier friend 
that it was so free without availing itself of its freedom. 
Winterbourne reflected that if she was seriously in- 
terested in the Italian it was odd she should n't take 
more trouble to preserve the sanctity of their inter- 
views, and he liked her the better for her innocent- 
looking indifference and her inexhaustible gaiety. 
He could hardly have said why, but she struck him 

74 



DAISY MILLER 

as a young person not formed for a troublesome jeal- 
ousy. Smile at such a betrayal though the reader may, 
it was a fact with regard to the women who had hith- 
erto interested him that, given certain contingencies, 
Winterbourne could see himself afraid literally 
afraid of these ladies. It pleased him to believe 
that even were twenty other things different and 
Daisy should love him and he should know it and 
like it, he would still never be afraid of Daisy. It 
must be added that this conviction was not altogether 
flattering to her : it represented that she was nothing 
every way if not light. 

But she was evidently very much interested in 
Giovanelli. She looked at him whenever he spoke; 
she was perpetually telling him to do this and to do 
that; she was constantly chaffing and abusing him. 
She appeared completely to have forgotten that her 
other friend had said anything to displease her at 
Mrs. Walker's entertainment. One Sunday after- 
noon, having gone to Saint Peter's with his aunt, Win- 
terbourne became aware that the young woman held 
in horror by that lady was strolling about the great 
church under escort of her coxcomb of the Corso. 
It amused him, after a debate, to point out the ex- 
emplary pair even at the cost, as it proved, of Mrs. 
Costello's saying when she had taken diem in through 
her eye-glass: "That's what makes you so pensive 
in these days, eh?" 

"I hadn't the least idea I was pensive," he 
pleaded. 

"You're very much preoccupied; you're always 
thinking of something." 

75 



DAISY MILLER 

"And what is it," he asked, "that you accuse me 
of thinking of ?" 

"Of that young lady's, Miss Baker's, Miss Chand- 
ler's what's her name? Miss Miller's intrigue 
with that little barber's block." 

"Do you call it an intrigue/' he asked "an affair 
that goes on with such peculiar publicity ? " 

"That's their folly," said Mrs. Costello, "it's not 
their merit." 

"No," he insisted with a hint perhaps of the pre- 
occupation to which his aunt had alluded "I don't 
believe there 's anything to be called an intrigue." 

"Well " and Mrs. Costello dropped her glass 
"I Ve heard a dozen people speak of it : they say she 's 
quite carried away by him." 

"They're certainly as thick as thieves," our em- 
barrassed young man allowed. 

Mrs. Costello came back to them, however, after a 
little; and Winterbourne recognised in this a further 
illustration than that supplied by his own condi- 
tion of the spell projected by the case. "He's 
certainly very handsome. One easily sees how it is. 
She thinks him the most elegant man in the world, 
the finest gentleman possible. She has never seen 
anything like him he's better even than the cour- 
ier. It was the courier probably who introduced 
him, and if he succeeds in marrying the young lady 
the courier will come in for a magnificent commis- 



sion." 



"I don't believe she thinks of marrying him," 
Winterbourne reasoned, "and I don't believe he hopes 
to marry her." 

76 



DAISY MILLER 

"You maybe very sure she thinks of nothing at all. 
She romps on from day to day, from hour to hour, as 
they did in the Golden Age. I can imagine nothing 
more vulgar," said Mrs. Costello, whose figure of 
speech scarcely went on all fours. "And at the same 
time," she added, "depend upon it she may tell you 
any moment that she is 'engaged.'" 

"I think that's more than Giovanelli really ex- 
pects," said Winterbourne. 

"And who is Giovanelli ?" 

"The shiny but, to do him justice, not greasy 
little Roman. I've asked questions about him and 
learned something. He 's apparently a perfectly re- 
spectable little man. I believe he 's in a small way 
a cavaliers awocato. But he does n't move in what 
are called the first circles. I think it really not ab- 
solutely impossible the courier introduced him. He 's 
evidently immensely charmed with Miss Miller. If she 
thinks him the finest gentleman in the world, he, on 
his side, has never found himself in personal contact 
with such splendour, such opulence, such personal 
daintiness, as this young lady's. And then she must 
seem to him wonderfully pretty and interesting. Yes, 
he can't really hope to pull it off. That must appear to 
him too impossible a piece of luck. He has nothing 
but his handsome face to offer, and there 's a substan- 
tial, a possibly explosive Mr. Miller in that mysterious 
land of dollars and six-shooters. Giovanelli 's but too 
conscious that he has n't a title to offer. If he were 
only a count or a marcbeset What on earth can he 
make of the way they 've taken him up ? " 

"He accounts for it by his handsome face and 

77 



DAISY MILLER 

thinks Miss Miller a young lady qui se passe ses 
fantatsies!" 

"It's very true," Winterbourne pursued, "that 
Daisy and her mamma have n't yet risen to that stage 
of what shall I call it? of culture, at which the 
idea of catching a count or a marchese begins, I be- 
lieve them intellectually incapable of that conception." 

"Ah but the cavaliere awocato doesn't believe 
them!" cried Mrs. Costello. 

Of the observation excited by Daisy's "intrigue" 
Winterbourne gathered that day at Saint Peter's suf- 
ficient evidence. A dozen of the American colonists 
in Rome came to talk with his relative, who sat on 
a small portable stool at the base of one of the great 
pilasters. The vesper-service was going forward in 
splendid chants and organ-tones in the adjacent choir, 
and meanwhile, between Mrs. Costello and her 
friends, much was said about poor little Miss Miller's 
going really "too far." Winterbourne was not pleased 
with what he heard; but when, coming out upon the 
great steps of the church, he saw Daisy, who had 
emerged before him, get into an open cab with her 
accomplice and roll away through the cynical streets 
of Rome, the measure of her course struck him as sim- 
ply there to take. He felt very sorry for her not 
exactly that he believed she had completely lost her 
wits, but because it was painful to see so much that 
was pretty and undefended and natural sink so low in 
human estimation. He made an attempt after this to 
give a hint to Mrs. Miller. He met one day in the 
Corso a friend a tourist like himself who had 
just come out of the Doria Palace, where he had been 

78 



DAISY MILLER 

walking through the beautiful gallery. His friend 
"went on " for some moments about the great portrait 
of Innocent X, by Velasquez, suspended in one of the 
cabinets of the palace, and then said : "And in the 
same cabinet, by the way, I enjoyed sight of an image 
of a different kind ; that little American who 's so 
much more a work of nature than of art and whom you 
pointed out to me last week." In answer to Winter- 
bourne's enquiries his friend narrated that the little 
American prettier now than ever was seated with 
a companion in the secluded nook in which the papal 
presence is enshrined. 

"All alone?*' the young man heard himself disin- 
genuously ask. 

"Alone with a little Italian who sports in his but- 
ton-hole a stack of flowers. The girl 's a charming 
beauty, but I thought I understood from you the other 
day that she 's a young lady du meilleur monde" 

"So she is!" said Winterbourne; and having as- 
sured himself that his informant had seen the inter- 
esting pair but ten minutes before, he jumped into a 
cab and went to call on Mrs. Miller. She was at home, 
but she apologised for receiving him in Daisy's 
absence. 

"She's gone out somewhere with Mr. Giovanelli. 
She *s always going round with Mr. Giovanelli." 

"I've noticed they're intimate indeed," Winter- 
bourne concurred. 

"Oh it seems as if they could n't live without each 
other!" said Mrs. Miller. "Well, he's a real gentle- 
man anyhow. I guess I have the joke on Daisy 
that she must be engaged ! " 

79 



DAISY MILLER 

"And how does your daughter take the joke ?" 

"Oh she just says she ain't. But she might as well 
be!" this philosophic parent resumed. "She goes on 
as if she was. But I 've made Mr. Giovanelli promise 
to tell me if Daisy don't. 1 9 d want to write to Mr. 
Miller about it would n't you ? " 

Winterbourne replied that he certainly should; 
and the state of mind of Daisy's mamma struck 
him as so unprecedented in the annals of parental 
vigilance that he recoiled before the attempt to edu- 
cate at a single interview either her conscience or 
her wit. 

After this Daisy was never at home and he ceased to 
meet her at the houses of their common acquaintance, 
because, as he perceived, these shrewd people had 
quite made up their minds as to the length she must 
have gone. They ceased to invite her, intimating that 
they wished to make, and make strongly, for the bene- 
fit of observant Europeans, the point that though 
Miss Daisy Miller was a pretty American girl all right, 
her behaviour was n't pretty at all was in fact 
regarded by her compatriots as quite monstrous. 
Winterbourne wondered how she felt about all the 
cold shoulders that were turned upon her, and 
sometimes found himself suspecting with impatience 
that she simply did n't feel and did n't know. He set 
her down as hopelessly childish and shallow, as such 
mere giddiness and ignorance incarnate as was power- 
less either to heed or to suffer. Then at other mo- 
ments he could n't doubt that she carried about in her 
elegant and irresponsible little organism a defiant, pas- 
sionate, perfectly observant consciousness of the im- 

80 



DAISY MILLER 

pression she produced. He asked himself whether the 
defiance would come from the consciousness of inno- 
cence or from her being essentially a young person of 
the reckless class. Then it had to be admitted, he felt, 
that holding fast to a belief in her "innocence" was 
more and more but a matter of gallantry too fine-spun 
for use. As I have already had occasion to relate, he 
was reduced without pleasure to this chopping of logic 
and vexed at his poor fallibility, his want of instinct- 
ive certitude as to how far her extravagance was 
generic and national and how far it was crudely per- 
sonal. Whatever it was he had helplessly missed her, 
and now it was too late. She was "carried away" by 
Mr. Giovanelli. 

A few days after his brief interview with her 
mother he came across her at that supreme seat of 
flowering desolation known as the Palace of the 
Caesars. The early Roman spring had filled the air 
with bloom and perfume, and the rugged surface of 
the Palatine was muffled with tender verdure. Daisy 
moved at her ease over the great mounds of ruin that 
are embanked with mossy marble and paved with 
monumental inscriptions. It seemed to him he had 
never known Rome so lovely as just then. He looked 
off at the enchanting harmony of line and colour that 
remotely encircles the city he inhaled the softly 
humid odours and felt the freshness of the year and 
the antiquity of the place reaffirm themselves in deep 
interfusion. It struck him also that Daisy had never 
showed to the eye for so utterly charming; but this 
had been his conviction on every occasion of their 
meeting. Giovanelli was of course at her side, and 

81 



DAISY MILLER 

Giovanelli too glowed as never before with something 
of the glory of his race. 

" Well," she broke out upon the friend it would have 
been such mockery to designate as the latter's rival, 
"I should think you'd be quite lonesome!" 

"Lonesome?" Winterbourne resignedly echoed. 

" You 're always going round by yourself. Can't you 
get any one to walk with you ? " 

"I'm not so fortunate," he answered, "as your 
gallant companion." 

Giovanelli had from the first treated him with dis- 
tinguished politeness; he listened with a deferential 
air to his remarks; he laughed punctiliously at his 
pleasantries ; he attached such importance as he could 
find terms for to Miss Miller's cold compatriot. He 
carried himself in no degree like a jealous wooer; he 
had obviously a great deal of tact; he had no objection 
to any one's expecting a little humility of him. It even 
struck Winterbourne that he almost yearned at times 
for some private communication in the interest of his 
character for common sense; a chance to remark to 
him as another intelligent man that, bless him, be 
knew how extraordinary was their young lady and 
did n't flatter himself with confident at least too 
confident and too delusive hopes of matrimony and 
dollars. On this occasion he strolled away from his 
charming charge to pluck a sprig of almond-blossom 
which he carefully arranged in his button-hole. 

"I know why you say that," Daisy meanwhile 
observed. "Because you think I go round too much 
with him!" And she nodded at her discreet attend- 
ant. 

82 



DAISY MILLER 

"Every one thinks so if you care to know," was 
all Winterbourne found to reply. 

"Of course I care to know!" she made this 
point with much expression. "But I don't believe a 
word of it. They 're only pretending to be shocked. 
They don't really care a straw what I do. Besides, I 
don't go round so much." 

"I think you'll find they do care. They'll show it 

disagreeably," he took on himself to state. 
Daisy weighed the importance of that idea. "How 

disagreeably ? " 

" Have n't you noticed anything ? " he compassion- 
ately asked. 

"I've noticed you. But I noticed you Ve no more 
'give' than a ramrod the first time ever I saw you." 

"You'll find at least that I 've more *give' than 
several others," he patiently smiled. 

"How shall I find it?" 

"By going to see the others." 

"What will they do to me ?" 

"They'll show you the cold shoulder. Do you 
know what that means ? " 

Daisy was looking at him intently; she began to 
colour. " Do you mean as Mrs. Walker did the other 
night?" 

"Exactly as Mrs. Walker did the other night." 

She looked away at Giovanelli, still titivating with 
his almond-blossom. Then with her attention again 
on the important subject: "I should n't think you'd 
let people be so unkind!" 

"How can I help it?" 

" I should think you ' d want to say something." 

83 



DAISY MILLER 

"I do want to say something" and Winter- 
bourne paused a moment. "I want to say that your 
mother tells me she believes you engaged." 

"Well, I guess she does," said Daisy very simply. 

The young man began to laugh. "And does Ran- 
dolph believe it?" 

"I guess Randolph doesn't believe anything." 
This testimony to Randolph's scepticism excited 
Winterbourne to further mirth, and he noticed that 
Giovanelli was coming back to them. Daisy, observ- 
ing it as well, addressed herself again to her country- 
man. " Since you 've mentioned it," she said, " I am 
engaged." He looked at her hard he had stopped 
laughing. " You don't believe it ! " she added. 

He asked himself, and it was for a moment like 
testing a heart-beat; after which, "Yes, I believe 
it!" he said. 

"Oh no, you don't," she answered. "But if you 
possibly do," she still more perversely pursued 
"well, I ain't!" 

Miss Miller and her constant guide were on their 
way to the gate of the enclosure, so that Winter- 
bourne, who had but lately entered, presently took 
leave of them. A week later on he went to dine at a 
beautiful villa on the Caelian Hill, and, on arriving, 
dismissed his hired vehicle. The evening was perfect 
and he promised himself the satisfaction of walking 
home beneath the Arch of Constantine and past the 
vaguely-lighted monuments of the Forum. Above 
was a moon half-developed, whose radiance was not 
brilliant but veiled in a thin cloud-curtain that seemed 
to diffuse and equalise it. When on his return from the 



DAISY MILLER 

villa at eleven o'clock he approached the dusky circle 
of the Colosseum the sense of the romantic in him 
easily suggested that the interior, in such an atmo- 
sphere, would well repay a glance. He turned aside 
and walked to one of the empty arches, near which, as 
he observed, an open carriage one of the little Ro- 
man street-cabs was stationed. Then he passed in 
among the cavernous shadows of the great structure 
and emerged upon the clear and silent arena. The 
place had never seemed to him more impressive. One 
half of the gigantic circus was in deep shade while the 
other slept in the luminous dusk. As he stood there he 
began to murmur Byron's famous lines out of "Maa- 
fred"; but before he had finished his quotation he 
remembered that if nocturnal meditation thereabouts 
was the fruit of a rich literary culture it was none 
the less deprecated by medical science. The air of 
other ages surrounded one; but the air of other 
ages, coldly analysed, was no better than a villainous 
miasma. Winterbourne sought, however, toward the 
middle of the arena, a further reach of vision, intend- 
ing the next moment a hasty retreat. The great cross 
in the centre was almost obscured; only as he drew 
near did he make it out distinctly. He thus also dis- 
tinguished two persons stationed on the low steps that 
formed its base. One of these was a woman seated; 
her companion hovered before her. 

Presently the sound of the woman's voice came to 
him distinctly in the warm night-air. "Well, he looks 
at us as one of the old lions or tigers may have looked 
at the Christian martyrs ! " These words were winged 
with their accent, so that they fluttered and settled 

85 



DAISY MILLER 

about him in the darkness like vague white doves. 
It was Miss Daisy Miller who had released them for 
flight. 

"Let us hope he's not very hungry " the bland 
Giovanelli fell in with her humour. "He'll have to 
take me first; you'll serve for dessert/' 

Winterbourne felt himself pulled up with final 
horror now and, it must be added, with final relief. 
It was as if a sudden clearance had taken place in 
the ambiguity of the poor girl's appearances and the 
whole riddle of her contradictions had grown easy to 
read. She was a young lady about the shades of 
whose perversity a foolish puzzled gentleman need 
no longer trouble his head or his heart. That once 
questionable quantity bad no shades it was a mere 
black little blot. He stood there looking at her, look- 
ing at her companion too, and not reflecting that 
though he saw them vaguely he himself must have 
been more brightly presented. He felt angry at all 
his shiftings of view he felt ashamed of all his 
tender little scruples and all his witless little mercies. 
He was about to advance again, and then again 
checked himself; not from the fear of doing her in- 
justice, but from a sense of the danger of showing 
undue exhilaration for this disburdenment of cautious 
criticism. He turned away toward the entrance of the 
place; but as he did so he heard Daisy speak again. 

"Why it was Mr. Winterbourne! He saw me and 
he cuts me dead ! " 

What a clever little reprobate she was, he was amply 
able to reflect at this, and how smartly she feigned, 
how promptly she sought to play off on him, a sur- 

86 



DAISY MILLER 

prised and injured innocence! But nothing would 
induce him to cut her either "dead " or to within any 
measurable distance even of the famous "inch" of 
her life. He came forward again and went toward the 
great cross. Daisy had got up and Giovanelli lifted 
his hat. Winterbourne had now begun to think 
simply of the madness, on the ground of exposure 
and infection, of a frail young creature's lounging 
away such hours in a nest of malaria. What if she 
were the most plausible of little reprobates ? That 
was no reason for her dying of the perniclosa. " How 
long have you been 'fooling round* here ?" he asked 
with conscious roughness. 

Daisy, lovely in the sinister silver radiance, ap- 
praised him a moment, roughness and all. "Well, 
I guess all the evening." She answered with spirit 
and, he could see even then, with exaggeration. "I 
never saw anything so quaint." 

"I J m afraid," he returned, "you '11 not think a bad 
attack of Roman fever very quaint. This is the way 
people catch it. I wonder," he added to Giovanelli, 
"that you, a native Roman, should countenance such 
extraordinary rashness." 

"Ah," said this seasoned subject, "for myself I have 
no fear." 

"Neither have I for you!" Winterbourne re- 
torted in French. " I 'm speaking for this young lady." 

Giovanelli raised his well-shaped eyebrows and 
showed his shining teeth, but took his critic's rebuke 
with docility. "I assured Mademoiselle it was a grave 
indiscretion, but when was Mademoiselle ever prud- 
ent?" 

87 



DAISY MILLER 

"I never was sick, and I don't mean to be ! " Made- 
moiselle declared. "I don't look like much, but I'm 
healthy ! I was bound to see the Colosseum by moon- 
light I would n't have wanted to go home without 
that; and we ? ve had the most beautiful time, have n't 
we, Mr. Giovanelli ? If there has been any danger 
Eugenio can give me some pills. Eugenio has got 
some splendid pills." 

"/ should advise you then," said Winterbourne, 
"to drive home as fast as possible and take one!" 

Giovanelli smiled as for the striking happy thought. 
"What you say is very wise. I '11 go and make sure the 
carriage is at hand." And he went forward rapidly. 

Daisy followed with Winterbourne. He tried to 
deny himself the small fine anguish of looking at her, 
but his eyes themselves refused to spare him, and she 
seemed moreover not in the least embarrassed. He 
spoke no word ; Daisy chattered over the beauty of the 
place: "Well, I have seen the Colosseum by moon- 
light that's one thing I can rave about!" Then 
noticing her companion's silence she asked him why 
he was so stiff it had always been her great word. 
He made no answer, but he felt his laugh an immense 
negation of stiffness. They passed under one of the 
dark archways ; Giovanelli was in front with the car- 
riage. Here Daisy stopped a moment, looking at her 
compatriot. "Did you believe I was engaged the 
other day ? " 

"It does n't matter now what I believed the other 
day!" he replied with infinite point. 

It was a wonder how she did n't wince for it. "Well, 
what do you believe now ? " 



DAISY MILLER 

"I believe it makes very little difference whether 
you 're engaged or not ! " 

He felt her lighted eyes fairly penetrate the thick 
gloom of the vaulted passage as if to seek some 
access to him she had n't yet compassed. But Gio- 
vanelli, with a graceful inconsequence, was at present 
all for retreat. "Quick, quick; if we get in by mid- 
night we 're quite safe ! " 

Daisy took her seat in the carriage and the fortun- 
ate Italian placed himself beside her. "Don't forget 
Eugenio's pills ! " said Winterbourne as he lifted his 
hat. 

" I don't care," she unexpectedly cried out for this, 
"whether I have Roman fever or not ! " On which the 
cab-driver cracked his whip and they rolled across 
the desultory patches of antique pavement. 

Winterbourne to do him justice, as it were 
mentioned to no one that he had encountered Miss 
Miller at midnight in the Colosseum with a gentle- 
man ; in spite of which deep discretion, however, the 
fact of the scandalous adventure was known a couple 
of days later, with a dozen vivid details, to every mem- 
ber of the little American circle, and was commented 
accordingly. Winterbourne judged thus that the 
people about the hotel had been thoroughly empow- 
ered to testify, and that after Daisy's return there 
would have been an exchange of jokes between the 
porter and the cab-driver. But the young man be- 
came aware at the same moment of how thoroughly 
it had ceased to ruffle him that the little American 
flirt should be "talked about" by low-minded meni- 
als. These sources of current criticism a day or two 



DAISY MILLER 

later abounded still further: the little American flirt 
was alarmingly ill and the doctors now in possession 
of the scene. Winterbourne, when the rumour came 
to him, immediately went to the hotel for more news. 
He found that two or three charitable friends had 
preceded him and that they were being entertained 
in Mrs. Miller's salon by the all-efficient Randolph. 

"It's going round at night that way, you bet 
that 's what has made her so sick. She 's always going 
round at night. I should n't think she 'd want to 
it's so plaguey dark over here. You can't see any- 
thing over here without the moon 's right up. In 
America they don't go round by the moon!" Mrs. 
Miller meanwhile wholly surrendered to her genius 
for unapparent uses; her salon knew her less than 
ever, and she was presumably now at least giving her 
daughter the advantage of her society. It was clear 
that Daisy was dangerously ill. 

Winterbourne constantly attended for news from 
the sick-room, which reached him, however, but with 
worrying indirectness, though he once had speech, 
for a moment, of the poor girl's physician and once 
saw Mrs. Miller, who, sharply alarmed, struck him 
as thereby more happily inspired than he could have 
conceived and indeed as the most noiseless and light- 
handed of nurses. She invoked a good deal the re- 
mote shade of Dr. Davis, but Winterbourne paid her 
the compliment of taking her after all for less mon- 
strous a goose. To this indulgence indeed something 
she further said perhaps even more insidiously dis- 
posed him. "Daisy spoke of you the other day quite 
pleasantly. Half the time she does n't know what 

90 



DAISY MILLER 

she's saying, but that time I think she did. She gave 
me a message she told me to tell you. She wanted 
you to know she never was engaged to that handsome 
Italian who was always round. I 'm sure I *m very 
glad ; Mr. Giovanelli has n't been near us since she 
was taken ill. I thought he was so much of a gentle- 
man, but I don't call that very polite ! A lady told 
me he was afraid I had n't approved of his being 
round with her so much evenings. Of course it ain't 
as if their evenings were as pleasant as ours since 
we don't seem to feel that way about the poison. I 
guess I don't see the point now; but I suppose he 
knows I 'm a lady and I 'd scorn to raise a fuss. Any- 
way, she wants you to realise she ain't engaged. I 
don't know why she makes so much of it, but she said 
to me three times 'Mind you tell Mr. Winterbourne/ 
And then she told me to ask if you remembered the 
time you went up to that castle in Switzerland. But 
I said I would n't give any such messages as that. 
Only if she ain't engaged I guess I 'm glad to realise 



it too." 



But, as Winterbourne had originally judged, the 
truth on this question had small actual relevance. A 
week after this the poor girl died ; it had been indeed 
a terrible case of the perniciosa. A grave was found 
for her in the little Protestant cemetery, by an angle 
of the wall of imperial Rome, beneath the cypresses 
and the thick spring-flowers. Winterbourne stood 
there beside it with a number of other mourners ; a 
number larger than the scandal excited by the young 
lady's career might have made probable. Near him 
stood Giovanelli, who came nearer still before Winter- 

9* 



DAISY MILLER 

bourne turned away. Giovanelli, in decorous mourn- 
ing, showed but a whiter face ; his button-hole lacked 
its nosegay and he had visibly something urgent 
and even to distress to say, which he scarce knew 
how to "place." He decided at last to confide it with 
a pale convulsion to Winterbourne. "She was the 
most beautiful young lady I ever saw, and the most 
amiable." To which he added in a moment: "Also 
naturally ! the most innocent." 

Winterbourne sounded him with hard dry eyes, 
but presently repeated his words, "The most inno- 
cent?" 

"The most innocent!" 

It came somehow so much too late that our friend 
could only glare at its having come at all. "Why the 
devil," he asked, "did you take her to that fatal 
place?" 

Giovanelli raised his neat shoulders and eyebrows 
to within suspicion of a shrug. "For myself I had no 
fear; and she she did what she liked." 

Winterbourne's eyes attached themselves to the 
ground. "She did what she liked!" 

It determined on the part of poor Giovanelli a fur- 
ther pious, a further candid, confidence. "If she 
had lived I should have got nothing. She never would 
have married me." 

It had been spoken as if to attest, in all sincerity, 
his disinterestedness, but Winterbourne scarce knew 
what welcome to give it. He said, however, with a 
grace inferior to his friend's : " I dare say not." 

The latter was even by this not discouraged. "For 
a moment I hoped so. But no. I 'm convinced." 

92 



DAISY MILLER 

Winterbourne took it in ; he stood staring at the raw 
protuberance among the April daisies. When he 
turned round again his fellow mourner had stepped 
back. 

He almost immediately left Rome, but the follow- 
ing summer he again met his aunt Mrs. Costello at 
Vevey. Mrs. Costelio extracted from the charming 
old hotel there a value that the Miller family had n't 
mastered the secret of. In the interval Winterbourne 
had often thought of the most interesting member 
of that trio of her mystifying manners and her 
queer adventure. One day he spoke of her to his 
aunt said it was on his conscience he had done her 
injustice. 

"I'm sure I don't know" that lady showed 
caution. "How did your injustice affect her?" 

"She sent me a message before her death which 
I did n't understand at the time. But I *ve under- 
stood it since. She would have appreciated one's 
esteem." 

"She took an odd way to gain it! But do you 
mean by what you say," Mrs. Costello asked, "that 
she would have reciprocated one's affection ? " 

As he made no answer to this she after a little looked 
round at him he had n't been directly within sight; 
but the effect of that was n't to make her repeat her 
question. He spoke, however, after a while. "You 
were right in that remark that you made last summer. 
I was booked to make a mistake. I Ve lived too long 
in foreign parts." And this time she herself said 
nothing. 

Nevertheless he soon went back to live at Geneva, 

93 



DAISY MILLER 

whence there continue to come the most contradictory 
accounts of his motives of sojourn : a report that he 's 
"studying" hard an intimation that he's much 
interested in a very clever foreign lady. 



PANDORA 



PANDORA 



IT has long been the custom of the North German 
Lloyd steamers, which convey passengers from 
Bremen to New York, to anchor for several hours in 
the pleasant port of Southampton, where their human 
cargo receives many additions. An intelligent young 
German, Count Otto Vogelstein, hardly knew a few 
years ago whether to condemn this custom or approve 
it. He leaned over the bulwarks of the Donau as the 
American passengers crossed the plank the travel- 
lers who embark at Southampton are mainly of that 
nationality and curiously, indifferently, vaguely, 
through the smoke of his cigar, saw them absorbed in 
the huge capacity of the ship, where he had the agree- 
able consciousness that his own nest was comfortably 
made. To watch from such a point of vantage the 
struggles of those less fortunate than ourselves of the 
uninformed, the unprovided, the belated, the bewild- 
ered is an occupation not devoid of sweetness, and 
there was nothing to mitigate the complacency with 
which our young friend gave himself up to it; nothing, 
that is, save a natural benevolence which had not yet 
been extinguished by the consciousness of official 
greatness. For Count Vogelstein was official, as I 
think you would have seen from the straightness of his 
back, the lustre of his light elegant spectacles, and 

97 



PANDORA 

something discreet and diplomatic in the curve of his 
moustache, which looked as if it might well contribute 
to the principal function, as cynics say, of the lips 
the active concealment of thought. He had been ap- 
pointed to the secretaryship of the German legation at 
Washington and in these first days of the autumn was 
about to take possession of his post. He was a model 
character for such a purpose serious civil ceremoni- 
ous curious stiff, stuffed with knowledge and con- 
vinced that, as lately rearranged, the German Empire 
places in the most striking light the highest of all the 
possibilities of the greatest of all the peoples. He was 
quite aware, however, of the claims to economic and 
other consideration of the United States, and that this 
quarter of the globe offered a vast field for study. 

The process of enquiry had already begun for him, 
in spite of his having as yet spoken to none of his fel- 
low passengers; the case being that Vogelstein en- 
quired not only with his tongue, but with his eyes 
that is with his spectacles with his ears, with his 
nose, with his palate, with all his senses and organs. 
He was a highly upright young man, whose only fault 
was that his sense of comedy, or of the humour of 
things, had never been specifically disengaged from 
his several other senses. He vaguely felt that some- 
thing should be done about this, and in a general 
manner proposed to do it, for he was on his way to 
explore a society abounding in comic aspects. This 
consciousness of a missing measure gave him a certain 
mistrust of what might be said of him ; and if circum- 
spection is the essence of diplomacy our young aspir- 
ant promised well. His mind contained several mil- 



PANDORA 

lions of facts, packed too closely together for the light 
breeze of the imagination to draw through the mass. 
He was impatient to report himself to his superior in 
Washington, and the loss of time in an English port 
could only incommode him, inasmuch as the study of 
English institutions was no part of his mission. On 
the other hand the day was charming; the blue sea, in 
Southampton Water, pricked all over with light, had 
no movement but that of its infinite shimmer. More- 
over he was by no means sure that he should be happy 
in the United States, where doubtless he should find 
himself soon enough disembarked. He knew that this 
was not an important question and that happiness was 
an unscientific term, such as a man of his education 
should be ashamed to use even in the silence of his 
thoughts. Lost none the less in the inconsiderate 
crowd and feeling himself neither in his own country 
nor in that to which he was in a manner accredited, he 
was reduced to his mere personality; so that during 
the hour, to save his importance, he cultivated such 
ground as lay in sight for a judgement of this delay to 
which the German steamer was subjected in English 
waters. Might n't it be proved, facts, figures and doc- 
uments or at least watch in hand, considerably 
greater than the occasion demanded ? 

Count Vogelstein was still young enough in diplom- 
acy to think it necessary to have opinions. He had 
a good many indeed which had been formed without 
difficulty; they had been received ready-made from 
a line of ancestors who knew what they liked. This 
was of course and under pressure, being candid, he 
would have admitted it an unscientific way of furn- 

99 



PANDORA 

ishing one's mind. Our young man was a stiff con- 
servative, a Junker of Junkers; he thought modern 
democracy a temporary phase and expected to find 
many arguments against it in the great Republic. In 
regard to these things it was a pleasure to him to feel 
that, with his complete training, he had been taught 
thoroughly to appreciate the nature of evidence. The 
ship was heavily laden with German emigrants, whose 
mission in the United States differed considerably 
from Count Otto's. They hung over the bulwarks, 
densely grouped ; they leaned forward on their elbows 
for hours, their shoulders kept on a level with their 
ears; the men in furred caps, smoking long-bowled 
pipes, the women with babies hidden in remarkably 
ugly shawls. Some were yellow Germans and some 
were black, and all looked greasy and matted with the 
sea-damp. They were destined to swell still further 
the huge current of the Western democracy; and 
Count Vogelstein doubtless said to himself that they 
would n't improve its quality. Their numbers, how- 
ever, were striking, and I know not what he thought of 
the nature of this particular evidence. 

The passengers who came on board at Southampton 
were not of the greasy class; they were for the most 
part American families who had been spending the 
summer, or a longer period, in Europe. They had a 
great deal of luggage, innumerable bags and rugs and 
hampers and sea-chairs, and were composed largely of 
ladies of various ages, a little pale with anticipation, 
wrapped also in striped shawls, though in prettier ones 
than the nursing mothers of the steerage, and crowned 
with very high hats and feathers. They darted to and 

100 



PANDORA 

fro across the gangway, looking for each other and for 
their scattered parcels; they separated and reunited, 
they exclaimed and declared, they eyed with dismay 
the occupants of the forward quarter, who seemed 
numerous enough to sink the vessel, and their voices 
sounded faint and far as they rose to Vogelstein's ear 
over the latter's great tarred sides. He noticed that in 
the new contingent there were many young girls, and 
he remembered what a lady in Dresden had once said 
to him that America was the country of the 
Madchen. He wondered whether he should like that, 
and reflected that it would be an aspect to study, like 
everything else. He had known in Dresden an Ameri- 
can family in which there were three daughters who 
used to skate with the officers, and some of the ladies 
now coming on board struck him as of that same 
habit, except that in the Dresden days feathers 
were n't worn quite so high. 

At last the ship began to creak and slowly budge, 
and the delay at Southampton came to an end. The 
gangway was removed and the vessel indulged in the 
awkward evolutions that were to detach her from 
the land. Count Vogelstein had finished his cigar, and 
he spent a long time in walking up and down the upper 
deck. The charming English coast passed before him, 
and he felt this to be the last of the old world. The 
American coast also might be pretty he hardly 
knew what one would expect of an American coast; 
but he was sure it would be different. Differences, 
however, were notoriously half the. charm of travel, 
and perhaps even most when they could n't be ex- 
pressed in figures, numbers, diagrams or the other 

101 



PANDORA 

merely useful symbols. As yet indeed there were 
very few among the objects presented to sight on the 
steamer. Most of his fellow passengers appeared of 
one and the same persuasion, and that persuasion the 
least to be mistaken. They were Jews and commer- 
cial to a man. And by this time they had lighted their 
cigars and put on all manner of seafaring caps, some 
of them with big ear-lappets which somehow had the 
effect of bringing out their peculiar facial type. At 
last the new voyagers began to emerge from below 
and to look about them, vaguely, with that suspicious 
expression of face always to be noted in the newly 
embarked and which, as directed to the receding land, 
resembles that of a person who begins to perceive him- 
self the victim of a trick. Earth and ocean, in such 
glances, are made the subject of a sweeping objection, 
and many travellers, in the general plight, have an 
air at once duped and superior, which seems to say 
that they could easily go ashore if they would. 

It still wanted two hours of dinner, and by the time 
Vogelstein's long legs had measured three or four 
miles on the deck he was ready to settle himself in 
his sea-chair and draw from his pocket a Tauchnitz 
novel by an American author whose pages, he had 
been assured, would help to prepare him for some of 
the oddities. On the back of his chair his name was 
painted in rather large letters, this being a precaution 
taken at the recommendation of a friend who had told 
him that on the American steamers the passengers 
especially the ladies thought nothing of pilfering 
one's little comforts. His friend had even hinted at the 
correct reproduction of his coronet. This marked man 

102 



PANDORA 

of the world had added that the Americans are greatly 
impressed by a coronet. I know not whether it was 
scepticism or modesty, but Count Vogelstein had 
omitted every pictured plea for his rank; there were 
others of which he might have made use. The 
precious piece of furniture which on the Atlantic 
voyage is trusted never to flinch among universal con- 
cussions was emblazoned simply with his title and 
name. It happened, however, that the blazonry was 
huge; the back of the chair was covered with enorm- 
ous German characters. This time there can be no 
doubt: it was modesty that caused the secretary of 
legation, in placing himself, to turn this portion of his 
seat outward, away from the eyes of his companions 
to present it to the balustrade of the deck. The 
ship was passing the Needles the beautiful utter- 
most point of the Isle of Wight. Certain tall white 
cones of rock rose out of the purple sea ; they flushed 
in the afternoon light and their vague rosiness gave 
them a human expression in face of the cold expanse 
toward which the prow was turned; they seemed to 
say farewell, to be the last note of a peopled world. 
Vogelstein saw them very comfortably from his place 
and after a while turned his eyes to the other quarter, 
where the elements of air and water managed to make 
between them so comparatively poor an opposition. 
Even his American novelist was more amusing than 
that, and he prepared to return to this author. In the 
great curve which it described, however, his glance was 
arrested by the figure of a young lady who had just 
ascended to the deck and who paused at the mouth of 
the companionway. 

103 



PANDORA 

This was not in itself an extraordinary phenome- 
non ; but what attracted Vogelstein's attention was the 
fact that the young person appeared to have fixed her 
eyes on him. She was slim, brightly dressed, rather 
pretty; Vogelstein remembered in a moment that he 
had noticed her among the people on the wharf at 
Southampton. She was soon aware he had observed 
her; whereupon she began to move along the deck 
with a step that seemed to indicate a purpose of 
approaching him. Vogelstein had time to wonder 
whether she could be one of the girls he had known at 
Dresden; but he presently reflected that they would 
now be much older than that. It was true they were 
apt to advance, like this one, straight upon their vic- 
tim. Yet the present specimen was no longer looking 
at him, and though she passed near him it was now 
tolerably clear she had come above but to take a gen- 
eral survey. She was a quick handsome competent 
girl, and she simply wanted to see what one could 
think of the ship, of the weather, of the appearance 
of England, from such a position as that; possibly 
even of one's fellow passengers. She satisfied herself 
promptly on these points, and then she looked about, 
while she walked, as if in keen search of a missing 
object ; so that Vogelstein finally arrived at a convic- 
tion of her real motive. She passed near him again 
and this time almost stopped, her eyes bent upon him 
attentively. He thought her conduct remarkable even 
after he had gathered that it was not at his face, with 
its yellow moustache, she was looking, but at the chair 
on which he was seated. Then those words of his 
friend came back to him the speech about the 

104 



PANDORA 

tendency of the people, especially of the ladies, on the 
American steamers to take to themselves one's little 
belongings. Especially the ladies, he might well say; 
for here was one who apparently wished to pull from 
under him the very chair he was sitting on. He was 
afraid she would ask him for it, so he pretended to 
read, systematically avoiding her eye. He was con- 
scious she hovered near him, and was moreover curi- 
ous to see what she would do. It seemed to him 
strange that such a nice-looking girl for her appear- 
ance was really charming should endeavour by arts 
so flagrant to work upon the quiet dignity of a secre- 
tary of legation. At last it stood out that she was trying 
to look round a corner, as it were trying to see what 
was written on the back of his chair. " She wants to 
find out my name ; she wants to see who I am ! " This 
reflexion passed through his mind and caused him to 
raise his eyes. They rested on her own which for an 
appreciable moment she did n't withdraw. The latter 
were brilliant and expressive, and surmounted a deli- 
cate aquiline nose, which, though pretty, was perhaps 
just a trifle too hawk-like. It was the oddest coincid- 
ence in the world; the story Vogelstein had taken up 
treated of a flighty forward little American girl who 
plants herself in front of a young man in the garden of 
an hotel. Was n't the conduct of this young lady a 
testimony to the truthfulness of the tale, and was n't 
Vogelstein himself in the position of the young man in 
the garden ? That young man though with more, 
in such connexions in general, to go upon ended by 
addressing himself to his aggressor, as she might be 
called, and after a very short hesitation Vogelstein 

105 



PANDORA 

followed his example. "If she wants to know who I 
am she 's welcome," he said to himself; and he got out 
of the chair, seized it by the back and, turning it 
round, exhibited the superscription to the girl. She 
coloured slightly, but smiled and read his name, while 
Vogelstein raised his hat. 

"I'm much obliged to you. That's all right/' she 
remarked as if the discovery had made her very happy. 

It affected him indeed as all right that he should 
be Count Otto Vogelstein ; this appeared even rather 
a flippant mode of disposing of the fact. By way of 
rejoinder he asked her if she desired of him the sur- 
render of his seat. 

"I'm much obliged to you; of course not. I 
thought you had one of our chairs, and I did n't like 
to ask you. It looks exactly like one of ours; not so 
much now as when you sit in it. Please sit down again. 
I don't want to trouble you. We 've lost one of ours, 
and I 've been looking for it everywhere. They look 
so much alike; you can't tell till you see the back. Of 
course I see there will be no mistake about yours," the 
young lady went on with a smile of which the serenity 
matched her other abundance. " But we 've got such 
a small name you can scarcely see it," she added 
with the same friendly intention. "Our name's just 
Day you might n't think it was a name, might you ? 
if we did n't make the most of it. If you see that on 
anything, I'd be so obliged if you'd tell me. It is n't 
for myself, it 's for my mother; she 's so dependent on 
her chair, and that one I 'm looking for pulls out so 
beautifully. Now that you sit down again and hide 
the lower part it does look just like ours. Well, it must 

106 



PANDORA 

be somewhere. You must excuse me; I would n't dis- 
turb you." 

This was a long and even confidential speech for 
a young woman, presumably unmarried, to make to a 
perfect stranger; but Miss Day acquitted herself of 
it with perfect simplicity and self-possession. She held 
up her head and stepped away, and Vogelstein could 
see that the foot she pressed upon the clean smooth 
deck was slender and shapely. He watched her disap- 
pear through the trap by which she had ascended, and 
he felt more than ever like the young man in his Amer- 
ican tale. The girl in the present case was older and 
not so pretty, as he could easily judge, for the image 
of her smiling eyes and speaking lips still hovered 
before him. He went back to his book with the feeling 
that it would give him some information about her. 
This was rather illogical, but it indicated a certain 
amount of curiosity on the part of Count Vogelstein. 
The girl in the book had a mother, it appeared, and so 
had this young lady; the former had also a brother, 
and he now remembered that he had noticed a young 
man on the wharf a young man in a high hat and a 
white overcoat who seemed united to Miss Day by 
this natural tie. And there was some one else too, as 
he gradually recollected, an older man, also in a high 
hat, but in a black overcoat in black altogether 
who completed the group and who was presumably the 
head of the family. These reflexions would indicate 
that Count Vogelstein read his volume of Tauchnitz 
rather interruptedly. Moreover they represented but 
the loosest economy of consciousness; for was n't he 
to be afloat in an oblong box for ten days with such 

107 



PANDORA 

people, and could it be doubted he should see at least 
enough of them ? 

It may as well be written without delay that he saw 
a great deal of them. I have sketched in some detail 
the conditions in which he made the acquaintance of 
Miss Day, because the event had a certain importance 
for this fair square Teuton; but I must pass briefly 
over the incidents that immediately followed it. He 
wondered what it was open to him, after such an in- 
troduction, to do in relation to her, and he determined 
he would push through his American tale and discover 
what the hero did. But he satisfied himself in a very 
short time that Miss Day had nothing in common 
with the heroine of that work save certain signs of 
habitat and climate and save, further, the fact that 
the male sex was n't terrible to her. The local stamp 
sharply, as he gathered, impressed upon her he esti- 
mated indeed rather in a borrowed than in a natural 
light, for if she was native to a small town in the 
interior of the American continent one of their fellow 
passengers, a lady from New York with whom he had 
a good deal of conversation, pronounced her " atro- 
ciously" provincial. How the lady arrived at this 
certitude did n't appear, for Vogelstein observed that 
she held no communication with the girl. It was true 
she gave it the support of her laying down that certain 
Americans could tell immediately who other Ameri- 
cans were, leaving him to judge whether or no she 
herself belonged to the critical or only to the criticised 
half of the nation. Mrs. Dangerfield was a handsome 
confidential insinuating woman, with whom Vogel- 
stein felt his talk take a very wide range indeed. She 

108 



PANDORA 

convinced him rather effectually that even in a great 
democracy there are human differences, and that 
American life was full of social distinctions, of delicate 
shades, which foreigners often lack the intelligence to 
perceive. Did he suppose every one knew every one 
else in the biggest country in the world, and that one 
was n't as free to choose one's company there as in 
the most monarchical and most exclusive societies ? 
She laughed such delusions to scorn as Vogelstein 
tucked her beautiful furred coverlet they reclined 
together a great deal in their elongated chairs well 
over her feet. How free an American lady was to 
choose her company she abundantly proved by not 
knowing any one on the steamer but Count Otto. 

He could see for himself that Mr. and Mrs. Day 
had not at all her grand air. They were fat plain seri- 
ous people who sat side by side on the deck for hours 
and looked straight before them. Mrs. Day had a 
white face, large cheeks and small eyes; her forehead 
was surrounded with a multitude of little tight black 
curls; her lips moved as if she had always a lozenge in 
her mouth. She wore entwined about her head an 
article which Mrs. Dangerfield spoke of as a "nuby," 
a knitted pink scarf concealing her hair, encircling 
her neck and having among its convolutions a hole 
for her perfectly expressionless face. Her hands were 
folded on her stomach, and in her still, swathed figure 
her little bead-like eyes, which occasionally changed 
their direction, alone represented life. Her husband 
had a stiff grey beard on his chin and a bare spacious 
upper lip, to which constant shaving had imparted a 
hard glaze. His eyebrows were thick and his nostrils 

109 



PANDORA 

wide, and when he was uncovered, in the saloon, it 
was visible that his grizzled hair was dense and per- 
pendicular. He might have looked rather grim and 
truculent had n't it been for the mild familiar accom- 
modating gaze with which his large light-coloured 
pupils the leisurely eyes of a silent man ap- 
peared to consider surrounding objects. He was evi- 
dently more friendly than fierce, but he was more dif- 
fident than friendly. He liked to have you in sight, but 
would n't have pretended to understand you much or 
to classify you, and would have been sorry it should 
put you under an obligation. He and his wife spoke 
sometimes, but seldom talked, and there was some- 
thing vague and patient in them, as if they had become 
victims of a wrought spell. The spell however was of 
no sinister cast; it was the fascination of prosperity, 
the confidence of security, which sometimes makes 
people arrogant, but which had had such a different 
effect on this simple satisfied pair, in whom further 
development of every kind appeared to have been 
happily arrested. 

Mrs. Dangerfield made it known to Count Otto that 
every morning after breakfast, the hour at which he 
wrote his journal in his cabin, the old couple were 
guided upstairs and installed in their customary 
corner by Pandora. This she had learned to be the 
name of their elder daughter, and she was immensely 
amused by her discovery. " Pandora " that was in 
the highest degree typical; it placed them in the social 
scale if other evidence had been wanting; you could 
tell that a girl was from the interior, the mysterious 
interior about which Vogelstein's imagination was 

no 



PANDORA 

now quite excited, when she had such a name as that. 
This young lady managed the whole family, even a 
little the small beflounced sister, who, with bold 
pretty innocent eyes, a torrent of fair silky hair, a 
crimson fez, such as is worn by male Turks, very 
much askew on top of it, and a way of galloping and 
straddling about the ship in any company she could 
pick up she had long thin legs, very short skirts and 
stockings of every tint was going home, in elegant 
French clothes, to resume an interrupted education. 
Pandora overlooked and directed her relatives; Vogel- 
stein could see this for himself, could see she was very 
active and decided, that she had in a high degree the 
sentiment of responsibility, settling on the spot most 
of the questions that could come up for a family from 
the interior. 

The voyage was remarkably fine, and day after day 
it was possible to sit there under the salt sky and feel 
one's self rounding the great curves of the globe. The 
long deck made a white spot in the sharp black circle 
of the ocean and in the intense sea-light, while the 
shadow of the smoke-streamers trembled on the 
familiar floor, the shoes of fellow passengers, distinct- 
ive now, and in some cases irritating, passed and 
repassed, accompanied, in the air so tremendously 
"open," that rendered all voices weak and most 
remarks rather flat, by fragments of opinion on the 
run of the ship. Vogelstein by this time had finished 
his little American story and now definitely judged 
that Pandora Day was not at all like the heroine. She 
was of quite another type; much more serious and 
strenuous, and not at all keen, as he had supposed, 

in 



PANDORA 

and there was at last an irresistible appeal for Vogel- 
stein in this quick bright silent girl who could smile 
and turn vocal in an instant, who imparted a rare 
originality to the filial character and whose profile 
was delicate as she bent it over a volume which she 
cut as she read, or presented it in musing attitudes, 
at the side of the ship, to the horizon they had left 
behind. But he felt it to be a pity, as regards a pos- 
sible acquaintance with her, that her parents should 
be heavy little burghers, that her brother should not 
correspond to his conception of a young man of the 
upper class and that her sister should be a Daisy 
Miller en berbe. Repeatedly admonished by Mrs. 
Dangerfield, the young diplomatist was doubly care- 
ful as to the relations he might form at the beginning 
of his sojourn in the United States. That lady re- 
minded him, and he had himself made the observa- 
tion in other capitals, that the first year, and even the 
second, is the time for prudence. One was ignorant of 
proportions and values ; one was exposed to mistakes 
and thankful for attention, and one might give one's 
self away to people who would afterwards be as a 
millstone round one's neck : Mrs. Dangerfield struck 
and sustained that note, which resounded in the young 
man's imagination. She assured him that if he did n't 
"look out" he would be committing himself to some 
American girl with an impossible family. In America, 
when one committed one's self there was nothing to do 
but march to the altar, and what should he say for 
instance to finding himself a near relation of Mr. and 
Mrs. P. W. Day ? since such were the initials in- 
scribed on the back of the two chairs of that couple, 

114 



PANDORA 

Count Otto felt the peril, for he could immediately 
think of a dozen men he knew who had married Amer- 
ican girls. There appeared now to be a constant dan- 
ger of marrying the American girl; it was something 
one had to reckon with, like the railway, the telegraph, 
the discovery of dynamite, the Chassepot rifle, the 
Socialistic spirit: it was one of the complications of 
modern life. 

It would doubtless be too much to say that he 
feared being carried away by a passion for a young 
woman who was not strikingly beautiful and with 
whom he had talked, in all, but ten minutes. But, as 
we recognise, he went so far as to wish that the human 
belongings of a person whose high spirit appeared to 
have no taint either of fastness, as they said in Eng- 
land, or of subversive opinion, and whose mouth had 
charming lines, should not be a little more distin- 
guished. There was an effect of drollery in her be- 
haviour to these subjects of her zeal, whom she seemed 
to regard as a care, but not as an interest; it was 
as if they had been entrusted to her honour and she 
had engaged to convey them safe to a certain point; 
she was detached and inadvertent, and then suddenly 
remembered, repented and came back to tuck them 
into their blankets, to alter the position of her mother's 
umbrella, to tell them something about the run of the 
ship. These little offices were usually performed 
deftly, rapidly, with the minimum of words, and when 
their daughter drew near them Mr. and Mrs. Day 
closed their eyes after the fashion of a pair of house- 
hold dogs who expect to be scratched. 

One morning she brought up the Captain of the 



PANDORA 

ship to present to them ; she appeared to have a priv- 
ate and independent acquaintance with this officer, 
and the introduction to her parents had the air of a 
sudden happy thought. It was n't so much an intro- 
duction as an exhibition, as if she were saying to him : 
"This is what they look like; see how comfortable I 
make them. Aren't they rather queer and rather 
dear little people ? But they leave me perfectly free. 
Oh I can assure you of that. Besides, you must see 
it for yourself." Mr. and Mrs. Day looked up at the 
high functionary who thus unbent to them with very 
little change of countenance; then looked at each 
other in the same way. He saluted, he inclined him- 
self a moment; but Pandora shook her head, she 
seemed to be answering for them; she made little 
gestures as if in explanation to the good Captain of 
some of their peculiarities, as for instance that he 
need n't expect them to speak. They closed their eyes 
at last; she appeared to have a kind of mesmeric 
influence on them, and Miss Day walked away with 
the important friend, who treated her with evident 
consideration, bowing very low, for all his import- 
ance, when the two presently after separated. Vogel- 
stein could see she was capable of making an im- 
pression ; and the moral of our little matter is that 
in spite of Mrs. Dangerfield, in spite of the resolu- 
tions of his prudence, in spite of the limits of such 
acquaintance as he had momentarily made with her, 
in spite of Mr. and Mrs. Day and the young man in 
the smoking-room, she had fixed his attention. 

It was in the course of the evening after the scene 
with the Captain that he joined her, awkwardly, 

116 



PANDORA 

abruptly, irresistibly, on the deck, where she was pac- 
ing to and fro alone, the hour being auspiciously mild 
and the stars remarkably fine. There were scattered 
talkers and smokers and couples, unrecogniseable, that 
moved quickly through the gloom. The vessel dipped 
with long regular pulsations; vague and spectral 
under the low stars, its swaying pinnacles spotted 
here and there with lights, it seemed to rush through 
the darkness faster than by day. Count Otto had 
come up to walk, and as the girl brushed past him 
he distinguished Pandora's face with Mrs. Danger- 
field he always spoke of her as Pandora under the 
veil worn to protect it from the sea-damp. He stopped, 
turned, hurried after her, threw away his cigar 
then asked her if she would do him the honour to 
accept his arm. She declined his arm but accepted 
his company, and he allowed her to enjoy it for an 
hour. They had a great deal of talk, and he was to 
remember afterwards some of the things she had said. 
There was now a certainty of the ship's getting into 
dock the next morning but one, and this prospect 
afforded an obvious topic. Some of Miss Day's ex- 
pressions struck him as singular, but of course, as 
he was aware, his knowledge of English was not nice 
enough to give him a perfect measure. 

"I'm not in ajiurry to arrive; I'm very happy 
here," she said. " I 'm afraid I shall have such a time 
putting my people through." 

"Putting them through V 9 

"Through the Custom-House. We've made so 
many purchases. Well, I've written to a friend to 
come down, and perhaps he can help us. He *s very 

117 



PANDORA 

well acquainted with the head. Once I'm chalked 
I don't care. I feel like a kind of blackboard by this 
rime anyway. We found them awful in Germany." 
Count Otto wondered if the friend she had written 
to were her lover and if they had plighted their troth, 
especially when she alluded to him again as "that 
gentleman who *s coming down." He asked her about 
her travels, her impressions, whether she had been 
long in Europe and what she liked best, and she put 
it to him that they had gone abroad, she and her 
family, for a little fresh experience. Though he found 
her very intelligent he suspected she gave this as a 
reason because he was a German and she had heard 
the Germans were rich in culture. He wondered 
what form of culture Mr. and Mrs. Day had brought 
back from Italy, Greece and Palestine they had 
travelled for two years and been everywhere espe- 
cially when their daughter said: "I wanted father 
and mother to see the best things. I kept them three 
hours on the Acropolis. I guess they won't forget 
that ! " Perhaps it was of Phidias and Pericles they 
were thinking, Vogelstein reflected, as they sat rumin- 
ating in their rugs. Pandora remarked also that she 
wanted to show her little sister everything while she 
was comparatively unformed ("comparatively!" he 
mutely gasped); remarkable sights made so much 
more impression when the mind was fresh : she had 
read something of that sort somewhere in Goethe. 
She had wanted to come herself when she was her 
sister's age; but her father was in business then and 
they could n't leave Utica. The young man thought 
of the little sister frisking over the Parthenon and the 

118 



PANDORA 

Mount of Olives and sharing for two years, the years 
of the school-room, this extraordinary pilgrimage of 
her parents ; he wondered whether Goethe's dictum 
had been justified in this case. He asked Pandora if 
Utica were the seat of her family, if it were an im- 
portant or typical place, if it would be an interesting 
city for him, as a stranger, to see. His companion 
replied frankly that this was a big question, but 
added that all the same she would ask him to "come 
and visit us at our home," if it were n't that they 
should probably soon leave it. 

"Ah you 're going to live elsewhere ?" Vogelstein 
asked as if that fact too would be typical. 

"Well, I 'm working for New York. I flatter my- 
self I 've loosened them while we Ve been away," 
the girl went on. "They won't find in Utica the same 
charm ; that was my idea. I want a big place, and of 
course Utica ! " She broke off as before a complex 
statement. 

" I suppose Utica is inferior ? " Vogelstein seemed 
to see his way to suggest. 

"Well no, I guess I can't have you call Utica in- 
ferior. It is n't supreme that's what's the matter 
with it, and I hate anything middling," said Pandora 
Day. She gave a light dry laugh, tossing back her 
head a little as she made this declaration. And look- 
ing at her askance in the dusk, as she trod the deck 
that vaguely swayed, he recognised something in her 
air and port that matched such a pronouncement. 

"What 's her social position ? " he enquired of Mrs. 
Dangerfield the next day. "I can't make it out at all 
it's so contradictory. She strikes me as having 

119 



PANDORA 

much cultivation and much spirit. Her appearance, 
too, is very neat. Yet her parents are complete little 
burghers. That's easily seen/* 

"Oh social position," and Mrs. Dangerfield nodded 
two or three times portentously. "What big expres- 
sions you use ! Do you think everybody in the world 
has a social position ? That 's reserved for an infinitely 
small majority of mankind. You can't have a social po- 
sition at Utica any more than you can have an opera- 
box. Pandora hasn't got one; where, if you please, 
should she have got it ? Poor girl, it is n't fair of you 
to make her the subject of such questions as that/' 

"Well," said Vogelstein, "if she's of the lower class 
it seems to me very very " And he paused a 
moment, as he often paused in speaking English, 
looking for his word. 

"Very what, dear Count ?" 

"Very significant, very representative." 

"Oh dear, she is n't of the lower class," Mrs. Dang- 
erfield returned with an irritated sense of wasted 
wisdom. She liked to explain her country, but that 
somehow always required two persons. 

"What is she then?" 

"Well, I'm bound to admit that since I was at 
home last she 's a novelty. A girl like that with such 
people it i V a new type." 

"I like novelties" and Count Otto smiled with 
an air of considerable resolution. He could n't how- 
ever be satisfied with a demonstration that only 
begged the question ; and when they disembarked in 
New York he felt, even amid the confusion of the 
wharf and the heaps of disembowelled baggage, a 

120 



PANDORA 

certain acuteness of regret at the idea that Pandora 
and her family were about to vanish into the unknown. 
He had a consolation however : it was apparent that 
for some reason or other illness or absence from 
town the gentleman to whom she had written had 
not, as she said, come down. Vogelstein was glad 

he could n't have told you why that this sym- 
pathetic person had failed her; even though without 
him Pandora had to engage single-handed with the 
United States Custom-House. Our young man's first 
impression of the Western world was received on the 
landing-place of the German steamers at Jersey City 

a huge wooden shed covering a wooden wharf 
which resounded under the feet, an expanse palisaded 
with rough-hewn piles that leaned this way and that, 
and bestrewn with masses of heterogeneous luggage. 
At one end, toward the town, was a row of tall painted 
palings, behind which he could distinguish a press of 
hackney-coachmen, who brandished their whips and 
awaited their victims, while their voices rose, incess- 
ant, with a sharp strange sound, a challenge at once 
fierce and familiar. The whole place, behind the 
fence, appeared to bristle and resound. Out there 
was America, Count Otto said to himself, and he 
looked toward it with a sense that he should have to 
muster resolution. On the wharf people were rushing 
about amid their trunks, pulling their things together, 
trying to unite their scattered parcels. They were 
heated and angry, or else quite bewildered and dis- 
couraged. The few that had succeeded in collecting 
their battered boxes had an air of flushed indifference 
to the efforts of their neighbours, not even looking at 

121 



PANDORA 

people with whom they had been fondly intimate on 
the steamer. A detachment of the officers of the 
Customs was in attendance, and energetic passengers 
were engaged in attempts to drag them toward their 
luggage or to drag heavy pieces toward them. These 
functionaries were good-natured and taciturn, except 
when occasionally they remarked to a passenger 
whose open trunk stared up at them, eloquent, im- 
ploring, that they were afraid the voyage had been 
"rather glassy." They had a friendly leisurely specu- 
lative way of discharging their duty, and if they per- 
ceived a victim's name written on the portmanteau 
they addressed him by it in a tone of old acquaintance. 
Vogelstein found however that if they were familiar 
they were n't indiscreet. He had heard that in Amer- 
ica all public functionaries were the same, that there 
was n't a different tenue, as they said in France, for 
different positions, and he wondered whether at Wash- 
ington the President and ministers, whom he expected 
to see to have to see a good deal of, would be 
like that. 

He was diverted from these speculations by the 
sight of Mr. and Mrs. Day seated side by side upon 
a trunk and encompassed apparently by the accumu- 
lations of their tour. Their faces expressed more con- 
sciousness of surrounding objects than he had hitherto 
recognised, and there was an air of placid expansion 
in the mysterious couple which suggested that this 
consciousness was agreeable. Mr. and Mrs. Day were, 
as they would have said, real glad to get back. At a 
little distance, on the edge of the dock, our observer 
remarked their son, who had found a place where, 

122 



PANDORA 

between the sides of two big ships, he could see the 
ferry-boats pass; the large pyramidal low-laden ferry- 
boats of American waters. He stood there, patient 
and considering, with his small neat foot on a coil of 
rope, his back to everything that had been disem- 
barked, his neck elongated in its polished cylinder, 
while the fragrance of his big cigar mingled with the 
odour of the rotting piles and his little sister, beside 
him, hugged a huge post and tried to see how far she 
could crane over the water without falling in. Vogel- 
stein's servant was off in search of an examiner; 
Count Otto himself had got his things together and 
was waiting to be released, fully expecting that for a 
person of his importance the ceremony would be brief. 
Before it began he said a word to young Mr. Day, 
raising his hat at the same time to the little girl, whom 
he had not yet greeted and who dodged his salute by 
swinging herself boldly outward to the dangerous side 
of the pier. She was indeed still unformed, but was 
evidently as light as a feather. 

"I see you're kept waiting like me. It's very tire- 
some," Count Otto said. 

The young American answered without looking be- 
hind him. "As soon as we 're started we '11 go all right. 
My sister has written to a gentleman to come down." 

" I 've looked for Miss Day to bid her good-bye," 
Vogelstein went on; "but I don't see her." 

" I guess she has gone to meet that gentleman ; he *s 
a great friend of hers." 

"I guess he's her lover!" the little girl broke out. 
"She was always writing to him in Europe/' 

Her brother puffed his cigar in silence a moment. 

123 



PANDORA 

"That was only for this. I'll tell on you, sis," he 
presently added. 

But the younger Miss Day gave no heed to his 
menace; she addressed herself only, though with all 
freedom, to Vogelstein. "This is New York; I like 
it better than Utica." 

He had no time to reply, for his servant had arrived 
with one of the dispensers of fortune; but as he 
turned away he wondered, in the light of the child's 
preference, about the towns of the interior. He was 
naturally exempt from the common doom. The officer 
who took him in hand and who had a large straw hat 
and a diamond breastpin, was quite a man of the 
world and in reply to the Count's formal declarations 
only said "Well, I guess it 's all right; I guess I '11 just 
pass you"; distributing chalk-marks as if they had 
been so many love-pats. The servant had done some 
superfluous unlocking and unbuckling, and while he 
closed the pieces the officer stood there wiping his 
forehead and conversing with Vogelstein. " First visit 
to our country, sir ? quite alone no ladies ? Of 
course the ladies are what we're most after." It was 
in this manner he expressed himself while the young 
diplomatist wondered what he was waiting for and 
whether he ought to slip something into his palm. 
But this representative of order left our friend only a 
moment in suspense; he presently turned away with 
the remark, quite paternally uttered, that he hoped 
the Count would make quite a stay; upon which the 
young man saw how wrong he should have been to 
offer a tip. It was simply the American manner, which 
had a finish of its own after all. Vogelstein's serv- 

124 



PANDORA 

ant had secured a porter with a truck, and he was 
about to leave the place when he saw Pandora Day 
dart out of the crowd and address herself with much 
eagerness to the functionary who had just liberated 
him. She had an open letter in her hand which she 
gave him to read and over which he cast his eyes, 
thoughtfully stroking his beard. Then she led him 
away to where her parents sat on their luggage. Count 
Otto sent off his servant with the porter and followed 
Pandora, to whom he really wished to address a word 
of farewell. The last thing they had said to each other 
on the ship was that they should meet again on shore. 
It seemed improbable however that the meeting 
would occur anywhere but just here on the dock; 
inasmuch as Pandora was decidedly not in society, 
where Vogelstein would be of course, and as, if Utica 
he had her sharp little sister's word for it was 
worse than what was about him there, he 'd be hanged 
if he'd go to Utica. He overtook Pandora quickly; 
she was in the act of introducing the representative 
of order to her parents, quite in the same manner in 
which she had introduced the Captain of the ship. 
Mr. and Mrs. Day got up and shook hands with him 
and they evidently all prepared to have a little talk. 
"I should like to introduce you to my brother and 
sister/' he heard the girl say, and he saw her look 
about for these appendages. He caught her eye as 
she did so, and advanced with his hand outstretched, 
reflecting the while that evidently the Americans, 
whom he had always heard described as silent and 
practical, rejoiced to extravagance in the social graces. 
They dawdled and chattered like so many Neapolitans. 

125 



PANDORA 

"Good-bye, Count Vogelstein," said Pandora, who 
was a little flushed with her various exertions but 
did n't look the worse for it. "I hope you 11 have a 
splendid time and appreciate our country/* 

" I hope you 'II get through all right," Vogelstein 
answered, smiling and feeling himself already more 
idiomatic. 

"That gentleman's sick that I wrote to," she re- 
joined; "is n't it too bad ? But he sent me down a let- 
ter to a friend of his one of the examiners and 
I guess we won't have any trouble. Mr. Lansing, let 
me make you acquainted with Count Vogelstein," 
she went on, presenting to her fellow passenger the 
wearer of the straw hat and the breastpin, who shook 
hands with the young German as if he had never seen 
him before. Vogelstein's heart rose for an instant to 
his throat ; he thanked his stars he had n't offered a tip 
to the friend of a gentleman who had often been men- 
tioned to him and who had also been described by 
a member of Pandora's family as Pandora's lover. 

"It's a case of ladies this time," Mr. Lansing 
remarked to him with a smile which seemed to con- 
fess surreptitiously, and as if neither party could be 
eager, to recognition. 

"Well, Mr. Bellamy says you'll do anything for 
him" Pandora said, smiling very sweetly at Mr. 
Lansing. "We haven't got much; we've been gone 
only two years." 

Mr. Lansing scratched his head a little behind, 
with a movement that sent his straw hat forward in 
the direction of his nose. "I don't know as I'd do 
anything for him that I would n't do for you," he 

126 



PANDORA 

responded with an equal geniality. "I guess you'd 
better open that one " and he gave a little affection- 
ate kick to one of the trunks. 

"Oh mother, is n't he lovely ? It's only your sea- 
things," Pandora cried, stooping over the coffer with 
the key in her hand. 

"I don't know as I like showing them," Mrs. Day 
modestly murmured. 

Vogelstein made his German salutation to the com- 
pany in general, and to Pandora he offered an audible 
good-bye, which she returned in a bright friendly 
voice, but without looking round as she fumbled at 
the lock of her trunk. 

"We'll try another, if you like," said Mr. Lansing 
good-humouredly. 

"Oh no, it has got to be this one ! Good-bye, Count 
Vogelstein. I hope you '11 judge us correctly ! " 

The young man went his way and passed the 
barrier of the dock. Here he was met by his English 
valet with a face of consternation which led him to 
ask if a cab were n't forthcoming. 

"They call 'em *acks 'ere, sir," said the man, "and 
they 're beyond everything. He wants thirty shillings 
to take you to the inn.'* 

Vogelstein hesitated a moment. "Could n't you 
find a German ? " 

" By the way he talks he is a German ! " said the 
man ; and in a moment Count Otto began his career 
in America by discussing the tariff of hackney-coaches 
in the language of the fatherland. 



II 

HE went wherever he was asked, on principle, partly 
to study American society and partly because in 
Washington pastimes seemed to him not so numerous 
that one could afford to neglect occasions. At the end 
of two winters he had naturally had a good many of 
various kinds his study of American society had 
yielded considerable fruit. When, however, in April, 
during the second year of his residence, he presented 
himself at a large party given by Mrs. Bonnycastle 
and of which it was believed that it would be the last 
serious affair of the season, his being there (and still 
more his looking very fresh and talkative) was not the 
consequence of a rule of conduct. He went to Mrs. 
Bonnycastle's simply because he liked the lady, whose 
receptions were the pleasantest in Washington, and 
because if he did n't go there he did n't know what he 
should do ; that absence of alternatives having become 
familiar to him by the waters of the Potomac. There 
were a great many things he did because if he did n't 
do them he did n't know what he should do. It must 
be added that in this case even if there had been an 
alternative he would still have decided to go to Mrs. 
Bonnycastle's. If her house was n't the pleasantest 
there it was at least difficult to say which was pleas- 
anter; and the complaint sometimes made of it that it 
was too limited, that it left out, on the whole, more 
people than it took in, applied with much less force 
when it was thrown open for a general party. Toward 

128 



PANDORA 

the end of the social year, in those soft scented days 
of the Washington spring when the air began to show 
a southern glow and the Squares and Circles (to 
which the wide empty avenues converged according 
to a plan so ingenious, yet so bewildering) to flush with 
pink blossom and to make one wish to sit on benches 
under this magic of expansion and condonation 
Mrs. Bonnycastle, who during the winter had been 
a good deal on the defensive, relaxed her vigilance a 
little, became whimsically wilful, vernally reckless, as 
it were, and ceased to calculate the consequences of 
an hospitality which a reference to the back files or 
even to the morning's issue of the newspapers might 
easily prove a mistake. But Washington life, to Count 
Otto's apprehension, was paved with mistakes; he 
felt himself in a society founded on fundamental 
fallacies and triumphant blunders. Little addicted as 
he was to the sportive view of existence, he had said 
to himself at an early stage of his sojourn that the only 
way to enjoy the great Republic would be to burn 
one's standards and warm one's self at the blaze. 
Such were the reflexions of a theoretic Teuton who 
now walked for the most part amid the ashes of his 
prejudices. 

Mrs. Bonnycastle had endeavoured more than once 
to explain to him the principles on which she received 
certain people and ignored certain others; but it was 
with difficulty that he entered into her discrimina- 
tions. American promiscuity, goodness knew, had 
been strange to him, but it was nothing to the queer- 
ness of American criticism. This lady would discourse 
to him a perte de vue on differences where he only saw 

129 



PANDORA 

resemblances, and both the merits and the defects of 
a good many members of Washington society, as this 
society was interpreted to him by Mrs. Bonnycastle, 
he was often at a loss to understand. Fortunately she 
had a fund of good humour which, as I have intimated, 
was apt to come uppermost with the April blossoms 
and which made the people she did n't invite to her 
house almost as amusing to her as those she did. Her 
husband was not in politics, though politics were 
much in him; but the couple had taken upon them- 
selves the responsibilities of an active patriotism ; they 
thought it right to live in America, differing therein 
from many of their acquaintances who only, with some 
grimness, thought it inevitable. They had that bur- 
densome heritage of foreign reminiscence with which 
so many Americans were saddled ; but they carried it 
more easily than most of their country-people, and 
one knew they had lived in Europe only by their pre- 
sent exultation, never in the least by their regrets. 
Their regrets, that is, were only for their ever having 
lived there, as Mrs. Bonnycastle once told the wife 
of a foreign minister. They solved all their problems 
successfully, including those of knowing none of the 
people they did n't wish to, and of finding plenty faff 
occupation in a society supposed to be meagrely pro- 
vided with resources for that body which Vogelstein 
was to hear invoked, again and again, with the mix- 
ture of desire and of deprecation that might have 
attended the mention of a secret vice, under the name 
of a leisure-class. When as the warm weather ap- 
proached they opened both the wings of their house- 
door, it was because they thought it would entertain 

130 



PANDORA 

them and not because they were conscious of a press- 
ure. Alfred Bonnycastle all winter indeed chafed 
a little at the definiteness of some of his wife's reserves ; 
it struck him that for Washington their society was 
really a little too good. Vogelstein still remembered 
the puzzled feeling it had cleared up somewhat 
now with which, more than a year before, he had 
heard Mr. Bonnycastle exclaim one evening, after a 
dinner in his own house, when every guest but the 
German secretary (who often sat late with the pair) 
had departed : "Hang it, there's only a month left; let 
us be vulgar and have some fun let us invite the 
President." 

This was Mrs. Bonnycastle's carnival, and on the 
occasion to which I began my chapter by referring 
the President had not only been invited but had 
signified his intention of being present. I hasten to 
add that this was not the same august ruler to whom 
Alfred Bonnycastle's irreverent allusion had been 
made. The White House had received a new tenant 
the old one was then just leaving it and Count 
Otto had had the advantage, during the first eighteen 
months of his stay in America, of seeing an electoral 
campaign, a presidential inauguration and a distribu- 
tion of spoils. He had been bewildered during those 
first weeks by finding that at the national capital, in 
tlje houses he supposed to be the best, the head of the 
State was not a coveted guest; for this could be the 
only explanation of Mr. Bonnycastle's whimsical sug- 
gestion of their inviting him, as it were, in carnival. 
His successor went out a good deal for a President. 

The legislative session was over, but this made little 



PANDORA 

difference in the aspect of Mrs. Bonnycastle's rooms, 
which even at the height of the congressional season 
could scarce be said to overflow with the represent- 
atives of the people. They were garnished with an 
occasional Senator, whose movements and utterances 
often appeared to be regarded with a mixture of alarm 
and indulgence, as if they would be disappointing if 
they were n't rather odd and yet might be dangerous 
if not carefully watched. Our young man had come 
to entertain a kindness for these conscript fathers of 
invisible families, who had something of the toga in 
the voluminous folds of their conversation, but were 
otherwise rather bare and bald, with stony wrinkles 
in their faces, like busts and statues of ancient law- 
givers. There seemed to him something chill and ex- 
posed in their being at once so exalted and so naked ; 
there were frequent lonesome glances in their eyes, 
as if in the social world their legislative consciousness 
longed for the warmth of a few comfortable laws 
ready-made. Members of the House were very rare, 
and when Washington was new to the enquiring secre- 
tary he used sometimes to mistake them, in the halls 
and on the staircases where he met them, for the 
functionaries engaged, under stress, to usher in guests 
and wait at supper. It was only a little later that he 
perceived these latter public characters almost always 
to be impressive and of that rich racial hue which of 
itself served as a livery. At present, however, such 
confounding figures were much less to be met than 
during the months of winter, and indeed they were 
never frequent at Mrs. Bonnycastle's. At present the 
social vistas of Washington, like the vast fresh flatness 

132 



PANDORA 

of the lettered and numbered streets, which at this 
season seemed to Vogelstein more spacious and vague 
than ever, suggested but a paucity of political phe- 
nomena. Count Otto that evening knew every one or 
almost every one. There were often enquiring strang- 
ers, expecting great things, from New York and 
Boston, and to them, in the friendly Washington way, 
the young German was promptly introduced. It was 
a society in which familiarity reigned and in which 
people were liable to meet three times a day, so that 
their ultimate essence really became a matter of 
importance. 

"I've got three new girls/* Mrs. Bonnycastle said. 
"You must talk to them all." 

" All at once ? " Vogelstein asked, reversing in fancy 
a position not at all unknown to him. He had so 
repeatedly heard himself addressed in even more 
than triple simultaneity. 

"Oh no; you must have something different for 
each; you can't get off that way. Have n't you dis- 
covered that the American girl expects something 
especially adapted to herself? It's very well for 
Europe to have a few phrases that will do for any 
girl. The American girl is n't any girl ; she 's a remark- 
able specimen in a remarkable species. But you must 
keep the best this evening for Miss Day." 

" For Miss Day ! " and Vogelstein had a stare of 
intelligence. "Do you mean for Pandora?" 

Mrs. Bonnycastle broke on her side into free amuse- 
ment. "One would think you had been looking for 
her over the globe ! So you know her already and 
you call her by her pet name?" 

133 



PANDORA 

"Oh no, I don't know her; that is I have n't seen 
her or thought of her from that day to this. We came 
to America in the same ship." 

" Is n't she an American then ? " 

"Oh yes; she lives at Utica in the interior/' 

" In the interior of Utica ? You can't mean my 
young woman then, who lives in New York, where 
she 's a great beauty and a great belle and has been 
immensely admired this winter." 

"After all," said Count Otto, considering and a little 
disappointed, "the name 's not so uncommon ; it 's per- 
haps another. But has she rather strange eyes, a little 
yellow, but very pretty, and a nose a little arched ? " 

" I can't tell you all that ; I have n't seen her. She *s 
staying with Mrs. Steuben. She only came a day or 
two ago, and Mrs. Steuben 's to bring her. When she 
wrote to me to ask leave she told me what I tell you. 
They have n't come yet." 

Vogelstein felt a quick hope that the subject of this 
correspondence might indeed be the young lady he 
had parted from on the dock at New York, but the 
indications seemed to point another way, and he had 
no wish to cherish an illusion. It did n't seem to him 
probable that the energetic girl who had introduced 
him to Mr. Lansing would have the entree of the best 
house in Washington; besides, Mrs. Bonnycastle's 
guest was described as a beauty and belonging to the 
brilliant city. 

"What's the social position of Mrs. Steuben?" it 
occurred to him to ask while he meditated. He had an 
earnest artless literal way of putting such a question as 
that; you could see from it that he was very thorough. 



PANDORA 

Mrs. Bonnycastle met it, however, but with mock- 
ing laughter. "I'm sure I don't know! What's your 
own ? " and she left him to turn to her other guests, 
to several of whom she repeated his question. Could 
they tell her what was the social position of Mrs. 
Steuben ? There was Count Vogelstein who wanted 
to know. He instantly became aware of course that 
he ought n't so to have expressed himself. Was n't the 
lady's place in the scale sufficiently indicated by Mrs 
Bonnycastle's acquaintance with her? Still there 
were fine degrees, and he felt a little unduly snubbed. 
It was perfectly true, as he told his hostess, that with 
the quick wave of new impressions that had rolled 
over him after his arrival in America the image of 
Pandora was almost completely effaced; he had seen 
innumerable things that were quite as remarkable in 
their way as the heroine of the Donau, but at the 
touch of the idea that he might see her and hear her 
again at any moment she became as vivid in his mind 
as if they had parted the day before : he remembered 
the exact shade of the eyes he had described to Mrs. 
Bonnycastle as yellow, the tone of her voice when at 
the last she expressed the hope he might judge Amer- 
ica correctly. Had he judged America correctly ? If 
he were to meet her again she doubtless would try to 
ascertain. It would be going much too far to say that 
the idea of such an ordeal was terrible to Count Otto ; 
but it may at least be said that the thought of meeting 
Pandora Day made him nervous. The fact is cer- 
tainly singular, but I shall not take on myself to ex- 
plain it; there are some things that even the most 
philosophic historian is n't bound to account for. 

135 



PANDORA 

He wandered into another room, and there, at the 
end of five minutes, he was introduced by Mrs. Bonny- 
castle to one of the young ladies of whom she had 
spoken. This was a very intelligent girl who came 
from Boston and showed much acquaintance with 
Spielhagen's novels. "Do you like them?" Vogel- 
stein asked rather vaguely, not taking much interest 
in the matter, as he read works of fiction only in case 
of a sea- voyage. The young lady from Boston looked 
pensive and concentrated ; then she answered that she 
liked some of them very much, but that there were 
others she did n't like and she enumerated the 
works that came under each of these heads. Spiel- 
hagen is a voluminous writer, and such a catalogue 
took some time; at the end of it moreover Vogelstein's 
question was not answered, for he could n't have told 
us whether she liked Spielhagen or not. 

On the next topic, however, there was no doubt 
about her feelings. They talked about Washington as 
people talk only in the place itself, revolving about 
the subject in widening and narrowing circles, perch- 
ing successively on its many branches, considering 
it from every point of view. Our young man had 
been long enough in America to discover that after 
half a century of social neglect Washington had 
become the fashion and enjoyed the great advantage 
of being a new resource in conversation. This was 
especially the case in the months of spring, when 
the inhabitants of the commercial cities came so far 
southward to escape, after the long winter, that final 
affront. They were all agreed that Washington was 
fascinating, and none of them were better prepared 

136 



PANDORA 

to talk it over than the Bostonians. Vogelstein origin- 
ally had been rather out of step with them ; he had 
n't seized their point of view, had n't known with 
what they compared this object of their infatuation. 
But now he knew everything; he had settled down to 
the pace ; there was n't a possible phase of the dis- 
cussion that could find him at a loss. There was a 
kind of Hegelian element in it; in the light of these 
considerations the American capital took on the 
semblance of a monstrous mystical infinite Werden. 
But they fatigued Vogelstein a little, and it was his 
preference, as a general thing, not to engage the same 
evening with more than one new-comer, one visitor 
in the freshness of initiation. This was why Mrs. 
Bonnycastle's expression of a wish to introduce him 
to three young ladies had startled him a little; he saw 
a certain process, in which he flattered himself that he 
had become proficient, but which was after all toler- 
ably exhausting, repeated for each of the damsels. 
After separating from his judicious Bostonian he 
rather evaded Mrs. Bonnycastle, contenting himself 
with the conversation of old friends, pitched for the 
most part in a lower and easier key. 

At last he heard it mentioned that the President 
had arrived, had been some half-hour in the house, 
and he went in search of the illustrious guest, whose 
whereabouts at Washington parties was never indi- 
cated by a cluster of courtiers. He made it a point, 
whenever he found himself in company with the Pre- 
sident, to pay him his respects, and he had not been 
discouraged by the fact that there was no association 
of ideas in the eye of the great man as he put out his 

137 



PANDORA 

hand presidentially and said "Happy to meet you, 
sir/* Count Otto felt himself taken for a mere loyal 
subject, possibly for an office-seeker; and he used to 
reflect at such moments that the monarchical form 
had its merits : it provided a line of heredity for the 
faculty of quick recognition. He had now some dif- 
ficulty in finding the chief magistrate, and ended by 
learning that he was in the tea-room, a small apart- 
ment devoted to light refection near the entrance of 
the house. Here our young man presently perceived 
him seated on a sofa and in conversation with a lady. 
There were a number of people about the table, eat- 
ing, drinking, talking; and the couple on the sofa, 
which was not near it but against the wall, in a shal- 
low recess, looked a little withdrawn, as if they had 
sought seclusion and were disposed to profit by the 
diverted attention of the others. The President leaned 
back; his gloved hands, resting on either knee, made 
large white spots. He looked eminent, but he looked 
relaxed, and the lady beside him ministered freely and 
without scruple, it was clear, to this effect of his com- 
fortably unbending. Vogelstein caught her voice as 
he approached. He heard her say "Well now, remem- 
ber; I consider it a promise/* She was beautifully 
dressed, in rose-colour; her hands were clasped in her 
lap and her eyes attached to the presidential profile. 

"Well, madam, in that case it's about the fiftieth 
promise I Ve given to-day/* 

It was just as he heard these words, uttered by her 
companion in reply, that Count Otto checked him- 
self, turned away and pretended to be looking for a 
cup of tea. It was n't usual to disturb the President, 

138 



PANDORA 

even simply to shake hands, when he was sitting on 
a sofa with a lady, and the young secretary felt it in 
this case less possible than ever to break the rule, for 
the lady on the sofa was none othei than Pandora 
Day. He had recognised her without her appearing 
to see him, and even with half an eye, as they said, 
had taken in that she was now a person to be reckoned 
with. She had an air of elation, of success; she shone, 
to intensity, in her rose-coloured dress; she was 
extracting promises from the ruler of fifty millions of 
people. What an odd place to meet her, her old ship- 
mate thought, and how little one could tell, after all, 
in America, who people were ! He did n't want to 
speak to her yet; he wanted to wait a little and learn 
more; but meanwhile there was something attractive 
in the fact that she was just behind him, a few yards 
off, that if he should turn he might see her again. It 
was she Mrs. Bonnycastle had meant, it was she who 
was so much admired in New York. Her face was the 
same, yet he had made out in a moment that she was 
vaguely prettier; he had recognised the arch of her 
nose, which suggested a fine ambition. He took some 
tea, which he had n't desired, in order not to go away. 
He remembered her entourage on the steamer; her 
father and mother, the silent senseless burghers, so 
little "of the world," her infant sister, so much of it, 
her humorous brother with his tall hat and his influ- 
ence in the smoking-room. He remembered Mrs. 
Dangerfield's warnings yet her perplexities too 
and the letter from Mr. Bellamy, and the introduction 
to Mr. Lansing, and the way Pandora had stooped 
down on the dirty dock, laughing and talking, mistress 

139 



PANDORA 

of the situation, to open her trunk for the Customs. 
He was pretty sure she had paid no duties that day; 
this would naturally have been the purpose of Mr. 
Bellamy's letter. Was she still in correspondence with 
that gentleman, and had he got over the sickness 
interfering with their reunion ? These images and 
these questions coursed through Count Otto's mind, 
and he saw it must be quite in Pandora's line to be 
mistress of the situation, for there was evidently 
nothing on the present occasion that could call itself 
her master. He drank his tea and as he put down 
his cup heard the President, behind him, say : "Well, 
I guess my wife will wonder why I don't come home." 

"Why did n't you bring her with you ?" Pandora 
benevolently asked. 

"Well, she does n't go out much. Then she has 
got her sister staying with her Mrs. Runkle, from 
Natchez. She 's a good deal of an invalid, and my 
wife does n't like to leave her." 

"She must be a very kind woman" and there 
was a high mature competence in the way the girl 
sounded the note of approval. 

"Well, I guess she is n't spoiled yet." 

"I should like very much to come and see her," 
said Pandora. 

" Do come round. Could n't you come some night ? " 
the great man responded. 

"Well, I'll come some time. And I shall remind 
you of your promise." 

"All right. There's nothing like keeping it up. 
Well," said the President, "I must bid good-bye to 
these bright folks." 

140 



PANDORA 

Vogelstein heard him rise from the sofa with his 
companion ; after which he gave the pair time to pass 
out of the room before him. They did it with a certain 
impressive deliberation, people making way for the 
ruler of fifty millions and looking with a certain curi- 
osity at the striking pink person at his side. When 
a little later he followed them across the hall, into one 
of the other rooms, he saw the host and hostess accom- 
pany the President to the door and two foreign minis- 
ters and a judge of the Supreme Court address them- 
selves to Pandora Day. He resisted the impulse to 
join this circle : if he should speak to her at all he 
would somehow wish it to be in more privacy. She 
continued nevertheless to occupy him, and when Mrs. 
Bonnycastle came back from the hall he immediately 
approached her with an appeal. " I wish you 'd tell 
me something more about that girl that one op- 
posite and in pink." 

"The lovely Day that's what they call her, I 
believe ? I wanted you to talk with her." 

"I find she is the one I've met. But she seems to 
be so different here. I can't make it out," said Count 
Otto. 

There was something in his expression that again 
moved Mrs. Bonnycastle to mirth. "How we do 
puzzle you Europeans! You look quite bewild- 
ered." 

"I'm sorry I look so I try to hide it. But of 
course we 're very simple. Let me ask then a simple 
earnest childlike question. Are her parents also in 
society ? " 

"Parents in society ? D'ou tombez-vous ? Did you 
141 



PANDORA 

ever hear of the parents of a triumphant girl in rose- 
colour, with a nose all her own, in society ? " 

" Is she then all alone ? " he went on with a strain 
of melancholy in his voice. 

Mrs. Bonnycastle launched at him all her laughter. 
"You're too pathetic. Don't you know what she is ? 
I supposed of course you knew." 

"It's exactly what I'm asking you." 

"Why she's the new type. It has only come up 
lately. They have had articles about it in the papers. 
That's the reason I told Mrs. Steuben to bring her." 

"The new type? What new type, Mrs. Bonny- 
castle ? " he returned pleadingly so conscious was 
he that all types in America were new. 

Her laughter checked her reply a moment, and by 
the time she had recovered herself the young lady from 
Boston, with whom Vogelstein had been talking, 
stood there to take leave. This, for an American 
type, was an old one, he was sure; and the process 
of parting between the guest and her hostess had an 
ancient elaboration. Count Otto waited a little; then 
he turned away and walked up to Pandora Day, whose 
group of interlocutors had now been re-enforced 
by a gentleman who had held an important place in 
the cabinet of the late occupant of the presidential 
chair. He had asked Mrs. Bonnycastle if she were 
"all alone"; but there was nothing in her present 
situation to show her for solitary. She was n't suf- 
ficiently alone for our friend's taste; but he was im- 
patient and he hoped she 'd give him a few words to 
himself. She recognised him without a moment's 
hesitation and with the sweetest smile, a smile match- 

142 



PANDORA 

ing to a shade the tone in which she said: "I was 
watching you. I wondered if you were n't going to 
speak to me." 

"Miss Day was watching him !" one of the foreign 
ministers exclaimed; "and we flattered ourselves that 
her attention was all with us." 

"I mean before," said the girl, "while I was talk- 
ing with the President." 

At which the gentlemen began to laugh, one of 
them remarking that this was the way the absent were 
sacrificed, even the great; while another put on record 
that he hoped Vogelstein was duly flattered. 

"Oh I was watching the President too," said Pan- 
dora. " I ' ve got to watch him. He has promised me 
something." 

"It must be the mission to England," the judge of 
the Supreme Court suggested. "A good position for 
a lady; they've got a lady at the head over there." 

" I wish they would send you to my country," one 
of the foreign ministers suggested. "I'd immediately 
get recalled." 

"Why perhaps in your country I wouldn't speak 
to you ! It 's only because you 're here," the ex-heroine 
of the Donau returned with a gay familiarity which 
evidently ranked with her but as one of the arts of 
defence. " You '11 see what mission it is when it comes 
out. But I '11 speak to Count Vogelstein anywhere," 
she went on. "He's an older friend than any right 
here. I 've known him in difficult days." 

"Oh yes, on the great ocean," the young man 
smiled. "On the watery waste, in the tempest!" 

"Oh I don't mean that so much; we had a beauti- 

H3 



PANDORA 

ful voyage and there was n't any tempest. I mean 
when I was living in Utica. That 's a watery waste 
if you like, and a tempest there would have been a 
pleasant variety/' 

"Your parents seemed to me so peaceful!" her 
associate in the other memories sighed with a vague 
wish to say something sympathetic. 

"Oh you haven't seen them ashore! At Utica 
they were very lively. But that 's no longer our nat- 
ural home. Don't you remember I told you I was 
working for New York ? Well, I worked I had 
to work hard. But we've moved." 

Count Otto clung to his interest. "And I hope 
they're happy." 

"My father and mother ? Oh they will be, in time. 
I must give them time. They 're very young yet, 
they've years before them. And you've been always 
in Washington?" Pandora continued. "I suppose 
you 've found out everything about everything." 

"Oh no there are some things I cant find out." 

"Come and see me and perhaps I can help you. 
I 'm very different from what I was in that phase. 
I 've advanced a great deal since then." 

"Oh how was Miss Day in that phase?" asked a 
cabinet minister of the last administration. 

"She was delightful of course," Count Otto said. 

"He's very flattering; I did n't open my mouth!" 
Pandora cried. "Here comes Mrs. Steuben to take 
me to some other place. I believe it 's a literary party 
near the Capitol. Everything seems so separate in 
Washington. Mrs. Steuben 's going to read a poem. 
I wish she 'd read it here; would n't it do as well ?" 

144 



PANDORA 

This lady, arriving, signified to her young friend 
the necessity of their moving on. But Miss Day's com- 
panions had various things to say to her before giving 
her up. She had a vivid answer for each, and it was 
brought home to Vogelstein while he listened that this 
would be indeed, in her development, as she said, 
another phase. Daughter of small burghers as she 
might be she was really brilliant. He turned away 
a little and while Mrs. Steuben waited put her a 
question. He had made her half an hour before the 
subject of that enquiry to which Mrs. Bonnycastle 
returned so ambiguous an answer ; but this was n't 
because he failed of all direct acquaintance with the 
amiable woman or of any general idea of the esteem 
in which she was held. He had met her in various 
places and had been at her house. She was the widow 
of a commodore, was a handsome mild soft swaying 
person, whom every one liked, with glossy bands of 
black hair and a little ringlet depending behind each 
ear. Some one had said that she looked like the vieux 
feu idea of the queen in "Hamlet." She had written 
verses which were admired in the South, wore a full- 
length portrait of the commodore on her bosom and 
spoke with the accent of Savannah. She had about 
her a positive strong odour of Washington. It had 
certainly been very superfluous in our young man to 
question Mrs. Bonnycastle about her social position. 

"Do kindly tell me," he said, lowering his voice, 
"what 's the type to which that young lady belongs ? 
Mrs. Bonnycastle tells me it's a new one." 

Mrs. Steuben for a moment fixed her liquid eyes 
on the secretary of legation. She always seemed to 

145 



PANDORA 

be translating the prose of your speech into the finer 
rhythms with which her own mind was familiar. " Do 
you think anything 's really new ?" she then began to 
flute. "I'm very fond of the old; you know that's 
a weakness of we Southerners." The poor lady, it 
will be observed, had another weakness as well. 
"What we often take to be the new is simply the old 
under some novel form. Were there not remarkable 
natures in the past ? If you doubt it you should visit 
the South, where the past still lingers." 

Vogelstein had been struck before this with Mrs. 
Steuben's pronunciation of the word by which her 
native latitudes were designated; transcribing it from 
her lips you would have written it (as the nearest 
approach) the Sooth. But at present he scarce heeded 
this peculiarity; he was wondering rather how a 
woman could be at once so copious and so uninform- 
ing. What did he care about the past or even about 
the Sooth ? He was afraid of starting her again. He 
looked at her, discouraged and helpless, as bewildered 
almost as Mrs. Bonnycastle had found him half an 
hour before; looked also at the commodore, who, on 
her bosom, seemed to breathe again with his widow's 
respirations. "Call it an old type then if you like," 
he said in a moment. "All I want to know is what 
type it is! It seems impossible," he gasped, "to find 



out." 



"You can find out in the newspapers. They've 
had articles about it. They write about everything 
now. But it is n't true about Miss Day. It's one of 
the first families. Her great-grandfather was in the 
Revolution." Pandora by this time had given her 

146 



PANDORA 

attention again to Mrs. Steuben. She seemed to sig- 
nify that she was ready to move on. "Was n't your 
great-grandfather in the Revolution ? " the elder lady 
asked. "I'm telling Count Vogelstein about him." 

"Why are you asking about my ancestors ?" the 
girl demanded of the young German with untempered 
brightness. " Is that the thing you said just now that 
you can't find out ? Well, if Mrs. Steuben will only be 
quiet you never will." 

Mrs. Steuben shook her head rather dreamily. 
"Well, it's no trouble for we of the Sooth to be quiet. 
There's a kind of languor in our blood. Besides, we 
have to be to-day. But I 've got to show some energy 
to-night. I *ve got to get you to the end of Pennsyl- 
vania Avenue." 

Pandora gave her hand to Count Otto and asked 
him if he thought they should meet again. He an- 
swered that in Washington people were always meet- 
ing again and that at any rate he should n't fail to 
wait upon her. Hereupon, just as the two ladies were 
detaching themselves, Mrs. Steuben remarked that if 
the Count and Miss Day wished to meet again the pic- 
nic would be a good chance the picnic she was get- 
ting up for the following Thursday. It was to consist 
of about twenty bright people, and they 'd go down the 
Potomac to Mount Vernon. The Count answered 
that if Mrs. Steuben thought him bright enough he 
should be delighted to join the party; and he was told 
the hour for which the tryst was taken. 

He remained at Mrs. Bonnycastie's after every one 
had gone, and then he informed this lady of his reason 
for waiting. Would she have mercy on him and let 

H7 



PANDORA 

him know, in a single word, before he went to rest 
for without it rest would be impossible what was 
this famous type to which Pandora Day belonged ? 

"Gracious, you don't mean to say you've not 
found out that type yet!" Mrs. Bonnycastle ex- 
claimed with a return of her hilarity. "What have 
you been doing all the evening ? You Germans may 
be thorough, but you certainly are not quick ! " 

It was Alfred Bonnycastle who at last took pity on 
him. "My dear Vogelstein, she's the latest freshest 
fruit of our great American evolution. She's the self- 
made girl ! " 

Count Otto gazed a moment. "The fruit of the 
great American Revolution ? Yes, Mrs. Steuben told 
me her great-grandfather " but the rest of his sent- 
ence was lost in a renewed explosion of Mrs. Bonny- 
castle's sense of the ridiculous. He bravely pushed his 
advantage, such as it was, however, and, desiring his 
host's definition to be defined, enquired what the self- 
made girl might be. 

"Sit down and we'll tell you all about it," Mrs. 
Bonnycastle said. "I like talking this way, after a 
party's over. You can smoke if you like, and Alfred 
will open another window. Well, to begin with, the 
self-made girl's a new feature. That, however, you 
know. In the second place she is n't self-made at all. 
We all help to make her we take such an interest in 
her." 

"That's only after she's made!" Alfred Bonny- 
castle broke in. "But it's Vogelstein that takes an 
interest. What on earth has started you up so on the 
subject of Miss Day ?" 

148 



PANDORA 

The visitor explained as well as he could that it was 
merely the accident of his having crossed the ocean in 
the steamer with her; but he felt the inadequacy of 
this account of the matter, felt it more than his hosts, 
who could know neither how little actual contact he 
had had with her on the ship, how much he had been 
affected by Mrs. Dangerfield's warnings, nor how 
much observation at the same time he had lavished on 
her. He sat there half an hour, and the warm dead 
stillness of the Washington night nowhere are the 
nights so silent came in at the open window, min- 
gled with a soft sweet earthy smell, the smell of grow- 
ing things and in particular, as he thought, of Mrs. 
Steuben's Sooth. Before he went away he had heard 
all about the self-made girl, and there was something 
in the picture that strongly impressed him. She was 
possible doubtless only in America ; American life had 
smoothed the way for her. She was not fast, nor 
emancipated, nor crude, nor loud, and there was n't 
in her, of necessity at least, a grain of the stuff of which 
the adventuress is made. She was simply very success- 
ful, and her success was entirely personal. She had n't 
been born with the silver spoon of social opportunity; 
she had grasped it by honest exertion. You knew her 
by many different signs, but chiefly, infallibly, by the 
appearance of her parents. It was her parents who 
told her story; you always saw how little her parents 
could have made her. Her attitude with regard to 
them might vary in different ways. As the great fact 
on her own side was that she had lifted herself from a 
lower social plane, done it all herself, and done it by 
the simple lever of her personality, it was naturally to 

149 



PANDORA 

be expected that she would leave the authors of her 
mere material being in the shade. Sometimes she had 
them in her wake, lost in the bubbles and the foam 
that showed where she had passed; sometimes, as 
Alfred Bonnycastle said, she let them slide altogether; 
sometimes she kept them in close confinement, resort- 
ing to them under cover of night and with every pre- 
caution ; sometimes she exhibited them to the public in 
discreet glimpses, in prearranged attitudes. But the 
general characteristic of the self-made girl was that, 
though it was frequently understood that she was 
privately devoted to her kindred, she never attempted 
to impose them on society, and it was striking that, 
though in some of her manifestations a bore, she was 
at her worst less of a bore than they. They were almost 
always solemn and portentous, and they were for the 
most part of a deathly respectability. She was n't 
necessarily snobbish, unless it was snobbish to want 
the best. She did n't cringe, she did n't make herself 
smaller than she was; she took on the contrary a 
stand of her own and attracted things to herself. Nat- 
urally she was possible only in America only in a 
country where whole ranges of competition and com- 
parison were absent. The natural history of this inter- 
esting creature was at last completely laid bare to the 
earnest stranger, who, as he sat there in the animated 
stillness, with the fragrant breath of the Western world 
in his nostrils, was convinced of what he had already 
suspected, that conversation in the great Republic was 
more yearningly, not to say gropingly, psychological 
than elsewhere. Another thing, as he learnod, that 
you knew the self-made girl by was her culture, which 

150 



PANDORA 

was perhaps a little too restless and obvious. She had 
usually got into society more or less by reading, and 
her conversation was apt to be garnished with literary 
allusions, even with familiar quotations. Vogelstein 
had n't had time to observe this element as a devel- 
oped form in Pandora Day; but Alfred Bonnycastle 
hinted that he would n't trust her to keep it under in a 
tete-a-tete. It was needless to say that these young per- 
sons had always been to Europe; that was usually the 
first place they got to. By such arts they sometimes 
entered society on the other side before they did so at 
home ; it was to be added at the same time that this 
resource was less and less valuable, for Europe, in the 
American world, had less and less prestige and people 
in the Western hemisphere now kept a watch on that 
roundabout road. All of which quite applied to Pan- 
dora Day the journey to Europe, the culture (as 
exemplified in the books she read on the ship), the 
relegation, the effacement, of the family. The only 
thing that was exceptional was the rapidity of her 
march ; for the jump she had taken since he left her in 
the hands of Mr. Lansing struck Vogelstein, even after 
he had made all allowance for the abnormal homo- 
geneity of the American mass, as really considerable. 
It took all her cleverness to account for such things. 
When she "moved" from Utica mobilised her 
commissariat the battle appeared virtually to have 
been gained. 

Count Otto called the next day, and Mrs. Steuben's 
blackamoor informed him, in the communicative 
manner of his race, that the ladies had gone out to pay 
some visits and look at the Capitol. Pandora appar- 



PANDORA 

ently had not hitherto examined this monument, and 
our young man wished he had known, the evening 
before, of her omission, so that he might have offered 
to be her initiator. There is too obvious a connexion 
for us to fail of catching it between his regret and the 
fact that in leaving Mrs. Steuben's door he reminded 
himself that he wanted a good walk, and that he there- 
upon took his way along Pennsylvania Avenue. His 
walk had become fairly good by the time he reached 
the great white edifice that unfolds its repeated col- 
onnades and uplifts its isolated dome at the end of 
a long vista of saloons and tobacco-shops. He slowly 
climbed the great steps, hesitating a little, even won- 
dering why he had come. The superficial reason was 
obvious enough, but there was a real one behind it 
that struck him as rather wanting in the solidity which 
should characterise the motives of an emissary of 
Prince Bismarck. The superficial reason was a belief 
that Mrs. Steuben would pay her visit first it was 
probably only a question of leaving cards and bring 
her young friend to the Capitol at the hour when the 
yellow afternoon light would give a tone to the blank- 
ness of its marble walls. The Capitol was a splendid 
building, but it was rather wanting in tone. Vogel- 
stein's curiosity about Pandora Day had been much 
more quickened than checked by the revelations made 
to him in Mrs. Bonnycastle's drawing-room. It was a 
relief to have the creature classified ; but he had a de- 
sire, of which he had not been conscious before, to see 
really to the end how well, in other words how com- 
pletely and artistically, a girl could make herself. His 
calculations had been just, and he had wandered about 

152 



PANDORA 

the rotunda for only ten minutes, looking again at 
the paintings, commemorative of the national annals, 
which occupy its lower spaces, and at the simulated 
sculptures, so touchingly characteristic of early Amer- 
ican taste, which adorn its upper reaches, when the 
charming women he had been counting on presented 
themselves in charge of a licensed guide. He went to 
meet them and did n't conceal from them that he had 
marked them for his very own. The encounter was 
happy on both sides, and he accompanied them 
through the queer and endless interior, through laby- 
rinths of bleak bare development, into legislative and 
judicial halls. He thought it a hideous place; he had 
seen it all before and asked himself what senseless 
game he was playing. In the lower House were certain 
bedaubed walls, in the basest style of imitation, which 
made him feel faintly sick, not to speak of a lobby 
adorned with artless prints and photographs of emin- 
ent defunct Congressmen that was all too serious for 
a joke and too comic for a Valhalla. But Pandora was 
greatly interested; she thought the Capitol very fine; 
it was easy to criticise the details, but as a whole it was 
the most impressive building she had ever seen. She 
proved a charming fellow tourist; she had constantly 
something to say, but never said it too much ; it was 
impossible to drag in the wake of a cicerone less of a 
lengthening or an irritating chain. Vogelstein could 
see too that she wished to improve her mind; she 
looked at the historical pictures, at the uncanny 
statues of local worthies, presented by the different 
States they were of different sizes, as if they had 
been "numbered," in a shop she asked questions 

153 



PANDORA 

of the guide and in the chamber of the Senate re- 
quested him to show her the chairs of the gentlemen 
from New York. She sat down in one of them, though 
Mrs. Steuben told her that Senator (she mistook the 
chair, dropping into another State) was a horrid old 
thing. 

Throughout the hour he spent with her Vogelstein 
seemed to see how it was she had made herself. They 
walked about afterwards on the splendid terrace that 
surrounds the Capitol, the great marble floor on 
which it stands, and made vague remarks Pandora's 
were the most definite about the yellow sheen of 
the Potomac, the hazy hills of Virginia, the far- 
gleaming pediment of Arlington, the raw confused- 
looking country. Washington was beneath them, 
bristling and geometrical; the long lines of its avenues 
seemed to stretch into national futures. Pandora asked 
Count Otto if he had ever been to Athens and, on his 
admitting so much, sought to know whether the emin- 
ence on which they stood did n't give him an idea of 
the Acropolis in its prime. Vogelstein deferred the 
satisfaction of this appeal to their next meeting; he 
was glad in spite of the appeal to make pretexts 
for seeing her again. He did so on the morrow; Mrs. 
Steuben's picnic was still three days distant. He 
called on Pandora a second time, also met her each 
evening in the Washington world. It took very little of 
this to remind him that he was forgetting both Mrs. 
Dangerfield's warnings and the admonitions long 
familiar to him of his own conscience. Was he in 
peril of love ? Was he to be sacrificed on the altar of 
the American girl, an altar at which those other poor 



PANDORA 

fellows had poured out some of the bluest blood in 
Germany and he had himself taken oath he would 
never seriously worship ? He decided that he was n't 
in real danger, that he had rather clinched his pre- 
cautions. It was true that a young person who had 
succeeded so well for herself might be a great help to 
her husband; but this diplomatic aspirant preferred 
on the whole that his success should be his own: it 
would n't please him to have the air of being pushed 
by his wife. Such a wife as that would wish to push 
him, and he could hardly admit to himself that this 
was what fate had in reserve for him to be pro- 
pelled in his career by a young lady who would per- 
haps attempt to talk to the Kaiser as he had heard her 
the other night talk to the President. Would she con- 
sent to discontinue relations with her family, or would 
she wish still to borrow plastic relief from that domes- 
tic background ? That her family was so impossible 
was to a certain extent an advantage ; for if they had 
been a little better the question of a rupture would be 
less easy. He turned over these questions in spite of 
his security, or perhaps indeed because of it. The 
security made them speculative and disinterested. 

They haunted him during the excursion to Mount 
Vernon, which took place according to traditions long 
established. Mrs. Steuben's confederates assembled 
on the steamer and were set afloat on the big brown 
stream which had already seemed to our special 
traveller to have too much bosom and too little bank. 
Here and there, however, he became conscious of a 
shore where there was something to look at, even 
though conscious at the same time that he had of old 



PANDORA 

lost great opportunities of an idyllic cast in not having 
managed to be more "thrown with" a certain young 
lady on the deck of the North German Lloyd. The 
two turned round together to hang over Alexandria, 
which for Pandora, as she declared, was a picture of 
Old Virginia. She told Vogelstein that she was 
always hearing about it during the Civil War, ages 
before. Little girl as she had been at the time she 
remembered all the names that were on people's lips 
during those years of reiteration. This historic spot 
had a touch of the romance of rich decay, a reference 
to older things, to a dramatic past. The past of Alex- 
andria appeared in the vista of three or four short 
streets sloping up a hill and lined with poor brick 
warehouses erected for merchandise that had ceased 
to come or go. It looked hot and blank and sleepy, 
down to the shabby waterside where tattered darkies 
dangled their bare feet from the edge of rotting 
wharves. Pandora was even more interested in 
Mount Vernon when at last its wooded bluff began 
to command the river than she had been in the 
Capitol, and after they had disembarked and ascended 
to the celebrated mansion she insisted on going into 
every room it contained. She "claimed for it," as she 
said some of her turns were so characteristic both 
of her nationality and her own style the finest situa- 
tion in the world, and was distinct as to the shame of 
their not giving it to the President for his country-seat. 
Most of her companions had seen the house often, and 
were now coupling themselves in the grounds accord- 
ing to their sympathies, so that it was easy for Vogel- 
stein to offer the benefit of his own experience to 

156 



PANDORA 

the most inquisitive member of the party. They were 
not to lunch for another hour, and in the interval 
the young man roamed with his first and fairest 
acquaintance. The breath of the Potomac, on the 
boat, had been a little harsh, but on the softly-curving 
lawn, beneath the clustered trees, with the river rele- 
gated to a mere shining presence far below and in the 
distance, the day gave out nothing but its mildness, 
the whole scene became noble and genial. 

Count Otto could joke a little on great occasions, 
and the present one was worthy of his humour. He 
maintained to his companion that the shallow painted 
mansion resembled a false house, a "wing " or structure 
of daubed canvas, on the stage ; but she answered him 
so well with certain economical palaces she had seen 
in Germany, where, as she said, there was nothing but 
china stoves and stuffed birds, that he was obliged to 
allow the home of Washington to be after all really 
gemuthlich. What he found so in fact was the soft 
texture of the day, his personal situation, the sweetness 
of his suspense. For suspense had decidedly become 
his portion ; he was under a charm that made him feel 
he was watching his own life and that his susceptibil- 
ities were beyond his control. It hung over him that 
things might take a turn, from one hour to the other, 
which would make them ^ 7 ery different from what they 
had been yet; and his heart certainly beat a little faster 
as he wondered what that turn might be. Why did he 
come to picnics on fragrant April days with Ameri- 
can girls who might lead him too far ? Would n't such 
girls be glad to marry a Pomeranian count ? And 
would they, after all, talk that way to the Kaiser ? If 

157 



PANDORA 

he were to marry one of them he should have to give 
her several thorough lessons. 

In their little tour of the house our young friend and 
his companion had had a great many fellow visitors, 
who had also arrived by the steamer and who had 
hitherto not left them an ideal privacy. But the others 
gradually dispersed; they circled about a kind of 
showman who was the authorised guide, a big slow 
genial vulgar heavily-bearded man, with a whimsical 
edifying patronising tone, a tone that had immense 
success when he stopped here and there to make his 
points to pass his eyes over his listening flock, then 
fix them quite above it with a meditative look and 
bring out some ancient pleasantry as if it were a sud- 
den inspiration. He made a cheerful thing, an echo of 
the platform before the booth of a country fair, even 
of a visit to the tomb of the pater patnce. It is en- 
shrined in a kind of grotto in the grounds, and Vogel- 
stein remarked to Pandora that he was a good man 
for the place, but was too familiar. "Oh he'd have 
been familiar with Washington," said the girl with the 
bright dryness with which she often uttered amusing 
things. Vogelstein looked at her a moment, and it 
came over him, as he smiled, that she herself probably 
would n't have been abashed even by the hero with 
whom history has taken fewest liberties. "You look 
as if you could hardly believe that," Pandora went on. 
"You Germans are always in such awe of great peo- 
ple." And it occurred to her critic that perhaps after 
all Washington would have liked her manner, which 
was wonderfully fresh and natural. The man with the 
beard was an ideal minister to American shrines; he 

158 



PANDORA 

played on the curiosity of his little band with the touch 
of a master, drawing them at the right moment away 
to see the classic ice-house where the old lady had been 
found weeping in the belief it was Washington's grave. 
While this monument was under inspection our inter- 
esting couple had the house to themselves, and they 
spent some time on a pretty terrace where certain 
windows of the second floor opened a little roofless 
verandah which overhung, in a manner, obliquely, all 
the magnificence of the view; the immense sweep of 
the river, the artistic plantations, the last-century gar- 
den with its big box hedges and remains of old espa- 
liers. They lingered here for nearly half an hour, and 
it was in this retirement that Vogelstein enjoyed the 
only approach to intimate conversation appointed for 
him, as was to 'appear, with a young woman in whom 
he had been unable to persuade himself that he was 
not absorbed. It's not necessary, and it's not pos- 
sible, that I should reproduce this colloquy; but I may 
mention that it began as they leaned against the 
parapet of the terrace and heard the cheerful voice of 
the showman wafted up to them from a distance 
with his saying to her rather abruptly that he could n't 
make out why they had n't had more talk together 
when they crossed the Atlantic. 

" Well, I can if you can't," said Pandora. "I'd have 
talked quick enough if you had spoken to me. I spoke 
to you first." 

"Yes, I remember that" and it affected him 
awkwardly. 

"You listened too much to Mrs. Dangerfield." 

He feigned a vagueness. "To Mrs. Dangerfield ?" 
159 



PANDORA 

"That woman you were always sitting with; she 
told you not to speak to me. I Ve seen her in New 
York; she speaks to me now herself. She recom- 
mended you to have nothing to do with me." 

" Oh how can you say such dreadful things ? " 
Count Otto cried with a very becoming blush. 

"You know you can't deny it. You weren't at- 
tracted by my family. They're charming people 
when you know them. I don't have a better time any- 
where than I have at home," the girl went on loyally. 
" But what does it matter ? My family are very happy. 
They 're getting quite used to New York. Mrs. Dan- 
gerfield's a vulgar wretch next winter she'll call 



on me." 



"You are unlike any Madchen I've ever seen I 
don't understand you," said poor Vogelstein with the 
colour still in his face. 

"Well, you never will understand me probably; 
but what difference does it make ? " 

He attempted to tell her what difference, but I Ve 
no space to follow him here. It's known that when 
the German mind attempts to explain things it does n't 
always reduce them to simplicity, and Pandora was 
first mystified, then amused, by some of the Count's 
revelations. At last I think she was a little frightened, 
for she remarked irrelevantly, with some decision, 
that luncheon would be ready and that they ought to 
join Mrs. Steuben. Her companion walked slowly, on 
purpose, as they left the house together, for he knew 
the pang of a vague sense that he was losing her. 

"And shall you be in Washington many days yet ? " 
he appealed as they went. 

1 60 



PANDORA 

" It will all depend. I *m expecting important news. 
What I shall do will be influenced by that." 

The way she talked about expecting news and 
important ! made him feel somehow that she had 
a career, that she was active and independent, so that 
he could scarcely hope to stop her as she passed. It 
was certainly true that he had never seen any girl like 
her. It would have occurred to him that the news she 
was expecting might have reference to the favour she 
had begged of the President, if he had n't already 
made up his mind in the calm of meditation after 
that talk with the Bonnycastles that this favour 
must be a pleasantry. What she had said to him had a 
discouraging, a somewhat chilling effect; nevertheless 
it was not without a certain ardour that he enquired 
of her whether, so long as she stayed in Washington, 
he might n't pay her certain respectful attentions. 

"As many as you like and as respectful ones ; but 
you won't keep them up for ever ! " 

"You try to torment me," said Count Otto. 

She waited to explain. "I mean that I may have 
some of my family." 

"I shall be delighted to see them again." 

Again she just hung fire. "There are some you've 



never seen." 



In the afternoon, returning to Washington on the 
steamer, Vogelstein received a warning. It came from 
Mrs. Bonnycastle and constituted, oddly enough, the 
second juncture at which an officious female friend 
had, while sociably afloat with him, advised him on 
the subject of Pandora Day. 

"There 's one thing we forgot to tell you the other 
161 



PANDORA 

night about the self-made girl," said the lady of infinite 
mirth. "It's never safe to fix your affections on her, 
because she has almost always an impediment some- 
where in the background/' 

He looked at her askance, but smiled and said : " I 
should understand your information for which I 'm 
so much obliged a little better if I knew what you 
mean by an impediment/' 

"Oh I mean she's always engaged to some young 
man who belongs to her earlier phase/' 
"Her earlier phase?" 

"The time before she had made herself when she 
lived unconscious of her powers. A young man from 
Utica, say. They usually have to wait; he 's probably 
in a store. It 's a long engagement." 

Count Otto somehow preferred to understand as 
little as possible. " Do you mean a betrothal to 
take effect?" 

"I don't mean anything German and moonstruck. 
I mean that piece of peculiarly American enterprise 
a premature engagement to take effect, ^ut too 
complacently, at the end of time." 

Vogelstein very properly reflected that it was no use 
his having entered the diplomatic career if he were n't 
able to bear himself as if this interesting generalisation 
had no particular message for him. He did Mrs. 
Bonnycastle moreover the justice to believe that she 
would n't have approached the question with such 
levity if she had supposed she should make him 
wince. The whole thing was, like everything else, but 
for her to laugh at, and the betrayal moreover of a 
good intention. " I see, I see the self-made girl has 

162 



PANDORA 

of course always had a past. Yes, and the young man 
in the store from Utica is part of her past." 

"You express it perfectly," said Mrs, Bonnycastle. 
"I could n't say it better myself." 

"But with her present, with her future, when they 
change like this young lady's, I suppose everything 
else changes. How do you say it in America ? She 
lets him slide." 

"We don't say it at all!" Mrs. Bonnycastle cried. 
"She does nothing of the sort; for what do you take 
her ? She sticks to him ; that at least is what we expect 
her to do," she added with less assurance. "As I tell 
you, the type's new and the case under consideration. 
We have n't yet had time for complete study." 

"Oh of course I hope she sticks to him," Vogelstein 
declared simply and with his German accent more 
audible, as it always was when he was slightly agi- 
tated. 

For the rest of the trip he was rather restless. He 
wandered about the boat, talking little with the return- 
ing picnickers. Toward the last, as they drew near 
Washington and the white dome of the Capitol hung 
aloft before them, looking as simple as a suspended 
snowball, he found himself, on the deck, in proximity 
to Mrs. Steuben. He reproached himself with having 
rather neglected her during an entertainment for 
which he was indebted to her bounty, and he sought 
to repair his omission by a proper deference. But the 
only act of homage that occurred to him was to ask her 
as by chance whether Miss Day were, to her know- 
ledge, engaged. 

Mrs. Steuben turned her Southern eyes upon him 
163 



PANDORA 

with a look of almost romantic compassion. "To my 
knowledge? Why of course I'd know! I should think 
you 'd know too. Did n't you know she was engaged ? 
Why she has been engaged since she was sixteen." 

Count Otto gazed at the dome of the Capitol. "To 
a gentleman from Utica ? " 

"Yes, a native of her place. She's expecting him 
soon." 

"I 'm so very glad to hear it," said Vogelstein, who 
decidedly, for his career, had promise. "And is she 
going to marry him ? " 

"Why what do people fall in love with each other 
for? I presume they'll marry when she gets round to 
it. Ah if she had only been from the Sooth ! " 

At this he broke quickly in : " But why have they 
never brought it off, as you say, in so many years ? " 

"Well, at first she was too young, and then she 
thought her family ought to see Europe of course 
they could see it better with her and they spent 
some time there. And then Mr. Bellamy had some 
business difficulties that made him feel as if he did n't 
want to marry just then. But he has given up busi- 
ness and I presume feels more free. Of course it 's 
rather long, but all the while they 've been engaged. 
It's a true, true love," said Mrs. Steuben, whose sound 
of the adjective was that of a feeble flute. 

" Is his name Mr. Bellamy ? " the Count asked with 
his haunting reminiscence. "D. F. Bellamy, so ? And 
has he been in a store ? " 

" I don't know what kind of business it was : it was 
some kind of business in Utica. I think he had a 
branch in New York. He 's one of the leading gentie- 

164 



PANDORA 

men of Utica and very highly educated. He's a good 
deal older than Miss Day. He's a very fine man I 
presume a college man. He stands very high in Utica. 
I don't know why you look as if you doubted it." 

Vogelstein assured Mrs. Steuben that he doubted 
nothing, and indeed what she told him was prob- 
ably the more credible for seeming to him eminently 
strange. Bellamy had been the name of the gentle- 
man who, a year and a half before, was to have met 
Pandora on the arrival of the German steamer; it was 
in Bellamy's name that she had addressed herself with 
such effusion to Bellamy's friend, the man in the straw 
hat who was about to fumble in her mother's old 
clothes. This was a fact that seemed to Count Otto 
to finish the picture of her contradictions ; it wanted at 
present no touch to be complete. Yet even as it hung 
there before him it continued to fascinate him, and he 
stared at it, detached from surrounding things and 
feeling a little as if he had been pitched out of an over- 
turned vehicle, till the boat bumped against one of the 
outstanding piles of the wharf at which Mrs. Steuben's 
party was to disembark. There was some delay in get- 
ting the steamer adjusted to the dock, during which 
the passengers watched the process over its side and 
extracted what entertainment they might from the 
appearance of the various persons collected to receive 
it. There were darkies and loafers and hackmen, and 
also vague individuals, the loosest and blankest he had 
ever seen anywhere, with tufts on their chins, tooth- 
picks in their mouths, hands in their pockets, rumina- 
tion in their jaws and diamond pins in their shirt- 
fronts, who looked as if they had sauntered over from 

165 



PANDORA 

Pennsylvania Avenue to while away half an hour, for- 
saking for that interval their various slanting postures 
in the porticoes of the hotels and the doorways of the 
saloons. 

"Oh I 'm so glad! How sweet of you to come 
down ! " It was a voice close to Count Otto's shoulder 
that spoke these words, and he had no need to turn to 
see from whom it proceeded. It had been in his ears 
the greater part of the day, though, as he now per- 
ceived, without the fullest richness of expression of 
which it was capable. Still less was he obliged to turn 
to discover to whom it was addressed, for the few 
simple words I have quoted had been flung across the 
narrowing interval of water, and a gentleman who had 
stepped to the edge of the dock without our young 
man's observing him tossed back an immediate reply. 

" I got here by the three o'clock train. They told 
me in K Street where you were, and I thought I 'd 
come down and meet you." 

"Charming attention!" said Pandora Day with 
the laugh that seemed always to invite the whole of 
any company to partake in it; though for some mo- 
ments after this she and her interlocutor appeared to 
continue the conversation only with their eyes. Mean- 
while Vogelstein's also were not idle. He looked at her 
visitor from head to foot, and he was aware that she 
was quite unconscious of his own proximity. The gen- 
tleman before him was tall, good-looking, well-dressed ; 
evidently he would stand well not only at Utica, but, 
judging from the way he had planted himself on the 
dock, in any position that circumstances might com- 
pel him to take up. He was about forty years old ; he 

166 



PANDORA 

had a black moustache and he seemed to look at the 
world over some counter-like expanse on which he 
invited it all warily and pleasantly to put down first 
its idea of the terms of a transaction. He waved a 
gloved hand at Pandora as if, when she exclaimed 
" Gracious, ain't they long ! " to urge her to be patient. 
She was patient several seconds and then asked him 
if he had any news. He looked at her briefly, in 
silence, smiling, after which he drew from his pocket 
a large letter with an official-looking seal and shook it 
jocosely above his head. This was discreetly, covertly 
done. No one but our young man appeared aware of 
how much was taking place and poor Count Otto 
mainly felt it in the air. The boat was touching the 
wharf and the space between the pair inconsiderable. 

"Department of State ?" Pandora very prettily and 
soundlessly mouthed across at him. 

"That's what they call it." 

"Well, what country?" 

"What's your opinion of the Dutch ?" the gentle- 
man asked for answer. 

"Oh gracious!" cried Pandora. 

"Well, are you going to wait for the return trip ?" 
said the gentleman. 

Our silent sufferer turned away, and presently Mrs. 
Steuben and her companion disembarked together. 
When this lady entered a carriage with Miss Day the 
gentleman who had spoken to the girl followed them ; 
the others scattered, and Vbgelstein, declining with 
thanks a "lift" from Mrs. Bonnycastle, walked home 
alone and in some intensity of meditation. Two days 
later he saw in a newspaper an announcement that 



PANDORA 

the President had offered the post of Minister to 
Holland to Mr. D. F. Bellamy of Utica ; and in the 
course of a month he heard from Mrs. Steuben that 
Pandora, a thousand other duties performed, had 
finally "got round" to the altar of her own nuptials. 
He communicated this news to Mrs. Bonnycastle, 
who had not heard it but who, shrieking at the queer 
face he showed her, met it with the remark that there 
was now ground for a new induction as to the self- 
made girl. 



THE PATAGONIA 



THE PATAGONIA 



THE houses were dark in the August night and the 
perspective of Beacon Street, with its double chain 
of lamps, was a foreshortened desert. The club on 
the hill alone, from its semi-cylindrical front, pro- 
jected a glow upon the dusky vagueness of the Com- 
mon, and as I passed it I heard in the hot stillness the 
click of a pair of billiard-balls. As "every one" was 
out of town perhaps the servants, in the extravagance 
of their leisure, were profaning the tables. The heat 
was insufferable and I thought with joy of the mor- 
row, of the deck of the steamer, the freshening breeze, 
the sense of getting out to sea. I was even glad of 
what I had learned in the afternoon at the office of 
the company that at the eleventh hour an old ship 
with a lower standard of speed had been put on in 
place of the vessel in which I had taken my passage. 
America was roasting, England might very well be 
stuffy, and a slow passage (which at that season of 
the year would probably also be a fine one) was a 
guarantee of ten or twelve days of fresh air. 

I strolled down the hill without meeting a creature, 
though I could see through the palings of the Com- 
mon that that recreative expanse was peopled with 
dim forms. I remembered Mrs. Nettlepoint's house 
she lived in those days (they are not so distant, but 



THE PATAGONIA 

there have been changes) on the water-side, a little 
way beyond the spot at which the Public Garden 
terminates ; and I reflected that like myself she would 
be spending the night in Boston if it were true that, 
as had been mentioned to me a few days before at 
Mount Desert, she was to embark on the morrow for 
Liverpool. I presently saw this appearance confirmed 
by a light above her door and in two or three of her 
windows, and I determined to ask for her, having 
nothing to do till bedtime. I had come out simply 
to pass an hour, leaving my hotel to the blaze of its 
gas and the perspiration of its porters; but it occurred 
to me that my old friend might very well not know of 
the substitution of the Patagonia for the Scandinavia, 
so that I should be doing her a service to prepare her 
mind. Besides, I could offer to help her, to look after 
her in the morning : lone women are grateful for sup- 
port in taking ship for far countries. 

It came to me indeed as I stood on her door-step 
that as she had a son she might not after all be so 
lone; yet I remembered at the same time that Jasper 
Nettlepoint was not quite a young man to lean upon, 
having as I at least supposed a life of his own 
and tastes and habits which had long since diverted 
him from the maternal side. If he did happen just 
now to be at home my solicitude would of course 
seem officious; for in his many wanderings I be- 
lieved he had roamed all over the globe he would 
certainly have learned how to manage. None the less, 
in fine, I was very glad to show Mrs. Nettlepoint I 
thought of her. With my long absence I had lost sight 
of her; but I had liked her of old, she had been a 

172 



THE PATAGONIA 

good friend to my sisters, and I had in regard to her 
that sense which is pleasant to those who in general 
have gone astray or got detached, the sense that she 
at least knew all about me. I could trust her at 
any time to tell people I was respectable. Perhaps I 
was conscious of how little I deserved this indulgence 
when it came over me that I had n't been near her 
for ages. The measure of that neglect was given by 
my vagueness of mind about Jasper. However, I 
really belonged nowaday? to a different generation; 
I was more the mother's contemporary than the son's. 

Mrs. Nettlepoint was at home: I found her in her 
back drawing-room, where the wide windows opened 
to the water. The room was dusky it was too hot 
for lamps and she sat slowly moving her fan and 
looking out on the little arm of the sea which is so 
pretty at night, reflecting the lights of Cambridgeport 
and Charlestown. I supposed she was musing on the 
loved ones she was to leave behind, her married 
daughters, her grandchildren ; but she struck a note 
more specifically Bostonian as she said to me, pointing 
with her fan to the Back Bay : " I shall see nothing 
more charming than that over there, you know ! " 
She made me very welcome, but her son had told her 
about the Patagonia, for which she was sorry, as this 
would mean a longer voyage. She was a poor creature 
in any boat and mainly confined to her cabin even in 
weather extravagantly termed fine as if any 
weather could be fine at sea. 

"Ah then your son's going with you V I asked. 

"Here he comes, he'll tell you for himself much 
better than I can pretend to." Jasper Nettlepoint at 

173 



THE PAJAGONIA 

that moment joined us, dressed in white flannel and 
carrying a large fan. "Well, my dear, have you de- 
cided ? " his mother continued with no scant irony. 
"He has n't yet made up his mind, and we sail at ten 
o'clock!" 

"What does it matter when my things are put up ? " 
the young man said. "There's no crowd at this 
moment; there will be cabins to spare. I'm waiting 
for a telegram that will settle it. I just walked up 
to the club to see if it was come they '11 send it there 
because they suppose this house unoccupied. Not 
yet, but I shall go back in twenty minutes." 

"Mercy, how you rush about in this temperature ! " 
the poor lady exclaimed while I reflected that it was 
perhaps his billiard-balls I had heard ten minutes 
before. I was sure he was fond of billiards. 

" Rush ? not in the least. I take it uncommon easy." 

"Ah I'm bound to say you do!" Mrs. Nettlepoint 
returned with inconsequence. I guessed at a certain 
tension between the pair and a want of consideration 
on the young man's part, arising perhaps from selfish- 
ness. His mother was nervous, in suspense, wanting 
to be at rest as to whether she should have his com- 
pany on the voyage or be obliged to struggle alone. 
But as he stood there smiling and slowly moving his 
fan he struck me somehow as a person on whom this 
fact would n't sit too heavily. He was of the type of 
those whom other people worry about, not of those 
who worry about other people. Tall and strong, he 
had a handsome face, with a round head and close- 
curling hair; the whites of his eyes and the enamel 
of his teeth, under his brown moustache, gleamed 

174 



THE PATAGONIA 

vaguely in the lights of the Back Bay. I made out 
that he was sunburnt, as if he lived much in the open 
air, and that he looked intelligent but also slightly 
brutal, though not in a morose way. His brutality, 
if he had any, was bright and finished. I had to tell 
him who I was, but even then I saw how little he 
placed me and that my explanations gave me in his 
mind no great identity or at any rate no great import- 
ance. I foresaw that he would in intercourse make me 
feel sometimes very young and sometimes very old, 
caring himself but little which. He mentioned, as if 
to show our companion that he might safely be left 
to his own devices, that he had once started from 
London to Bombay at three quarters of an hour's 
notice. 

"Yes, and it must have been pleasant for the people 
you were with ! " 

"Oh the people I was with I" he returned; and 
his tone appeared to signify that such people would 
always have to come off as they could. He asked if 
there were no cold drinks in the house, no lemonade, 
no iced syrups ; in such weather something of that sort 
ought always to be kept going. When his mother 
remarked that surely at the club they were kept going 
he went on: "Oh yes, I had various things there; 
but you know I Ve walked down the hill since. One 
should have something at either end. May I ring and 
see ? " He rang while Mrs. Nettlepoint observed that 
with the people they had in the house, an establish- 
ment reduced naturally at such a moment to its sim- 
plest expression they were burning up candle-ends 
and there were no luxuries she would n't answer 

175 



THE PATAGONIA 

for the service. The matter ended in her leaving the 
room in quest of cordials with the female domestic 
who had arrived in response to the bell and in whom 
Jasper's appeal aroused no visible intelligence. 

She remained away some time and I talked with 
her son, who was sociable but desultory and kept 
moving over the place, always with his fan, as if he 
were properly impatient. Sometimes he seated him- 
self an instant on the window-sill, and then I made 
him out in fact thoroughly good-looking a fine 
brown clean young athlete. He failed to tell me on 
what special contingency his decision depended; he 
only alluded familiarly to an expected telegram, and 
I saw he was probably fond at no time of the trouble 
of explanations. His mother's absence was a sign 
that when it might be a question of gratifying him she 
had grown used to spare no pains, and I fancied her 
rummaging in some close storeroom, among old pre- 
serve-pots, while the dull maid-servant held the candle 
awry. I don't know whether this same vision was in 
his own eyes; at all events it did n't prevent his saying 
suddenly, as he looked at his watch, that I must excuse 
him he should have to go back to the club. He 
would return in half an hour or in less. He walked 
away and I sat there alone, conscious, on the dark 
dismantled simplified scene, in the deep silence that 
rests on American towns during the hot season 
there was now and then a far cry or a plash in the 
water, and at intervals the tinkle of the bells of the 
horse-cars on the long bridge, slow in the suffocating 
night of the strange influence, half-sweet, half-sad, 
that abides in houses uninhabited or about to become 



THE PATAGONIA 

so, in places muffled and bereaved, where the un- 
heeded sofas and patient belittered tables seem (like 
the disconcerted dogs, to whom everything is alike 
sinister) to recognise the eve of a journey. 

After a while I heard the sound of voices, of steps, 
the rustle of dresses, and I looked round, supposing 
these things to denote the return of Mrs. Nettlepoint 
and her handmaiden with the refection prepared for 
her son. What I saw however was two other female 
forms, visitors apparently just admitted, and now 
ushered into the room. They were not announced 
the servant turned her back on them and rambled 
off to our hostess. They advanced in a wavering 
tentative unintroduced way partly, I could see, 
because the place was dark and partly because their 
visit was in its nature experimental, a flight of imag- 
ination or a stretch of confidence. One of the ladies 
was stout and the other slim, and I made sure in a 
moment that one was talkative and the other re- 
served. It was further to be discerned that one was 
elderly and the other young, as well as that the fact 
of their unlikeness did n't prevent their being mother 
and daughter. Mrs. Nettlepoint reappeared in a very 
few minutes, but the interval had sufficed to establish 
a communication really copious for the occasion 
between the strangers and tie unknown gentleman 
whom they found in possession, hat and stick in 
hand. This was not my doing for what had I to 
go upon ? and still less was it the doing of the 
younger and the more indifferent, or less courageous, 
lady. She spoke but once when her companion 
informed me that she was going out to Europe the 

177 



THE PATAGONIA 

next day to be married. Then she protested "Oh 
mother!" in a tone that struck me in the darkness as 
doubly odd, exciting my curiosity to see her face. 

It had taken the elder woman but a moment to 
come to that, and to various other things, after I had 
explained that I myself was waiting for Mrs. Nettle- 
point, who would doubtless soon come back. 

"Well, she won't know me I guess she hasn't 
ever heard much about me," the good lady said; 
" but I 've come from Mrs. Allen and I guess that will 
make it all right. I presume you know Mrs. Allen ? " 

I was unacquainted with this influential person- 
age, but I assented vaguely to the proposition. Mrs. 
Allen's emissary was good-humoured and familiar, 
but rather appealing than insistent (she remarked 
that if her friend had found time to come in the after- 
noon she had so much to do, being just up for the 
day, that she could n't be sure it would be all 
right) ; and somehow even before she mentioned Mer- 
rimac Avenue (they had come all the way from there) 
my imagination had associated her with that indefinite 
social limbo known to the properly-constituted Boston 
mind as the South End a nebulous region which 
condenses here and there into a pretty face, in which 
the daughters are an " improvement " on the mothers 
and are sometimes acquainted with gentlemen more 
gloriously domiciled, gentlemen whose wives and 
sisters are in turn not acquainted with them. 

When at last Mrs. Nettlepoint came in, accom- 
panied by candles and by a tray laden with glasses of 
coloured fluid which emitted a cool tinkling, I was in 
a position to officiate as master of the ceremonies, to 

178 



THE PATAGONIA 

introduce Mrs. Mavis and Miss Grace Mavis, to 
represent that Mrs. Allen had recommended them 
nay, had urged them just to come that way, in- 
formally and without fear; Mrs. Allen who had been 
prevented only by the pressure of occupations so char- 
acteristic of her (especially when up from Mattapoisett 
for a few hours' desperate shopping) from herself call- 
ing in the course of the day to explain who they were 
and what was the favour they had to ask of her bene- 
volent friend. Good-natured women understand each 
other even when so divided as to sit residentially above 
and below the salt, as who should say ; by which token 
our hostess had quickly mastered the main facts : Mrs. 
Allen's visit that morning in Merrimac Avenue to 
talk of Mrs. Amber's great idea, the classes at the pub- 
lic schools in vacation (she was interested with an 
equal charity to that of Mrs. Mavis even in such 
weather ! in those of the South End) for games and 
exercises and music, to keep the poor unoccupied child- 
ren out of the streets ; then the revelation that it had 
suddenly been settled almost from one hour to the 
other that Grace should sail for Liverpool, Mr. Porter- 
field at last being ready. He was taking a little holiday ; 
his mother was with him, they had come over from 
Paris to see some of the celebrated old buildings in 
England, and he had telegraphed to say that if Grace 
would start right off they would just finish it up and 
be married. It often happened that when things had 
dragged on that way for years they were all huddled 
up at the end. Of course in such a case she, Mrs. 
Mavis, had had to fly round. Her daughter's passage 
was taken, but it seemed too dreadful she should make 



THE PATAGONIA 

her journey all alone, the first time she had ever been 
at sea, without any companion or escort. She could n't 
go Mr. Mavis was too sick : she had n't even been 
able to get him off to the seaside. 

"Well, Mrs. Nettlepoint '$ going in that ship," Mrs. 
Allen had said ; and she had represented that nothing 
was simpler than to give her the girl in charge. When 
Mrs. Mavis had replied that this was all very well but 
that she did n't know the lady, Mrs. Allen had de- 
clared that that did n't make a speck of difference, for 
Mrs. Nettlepoint was kind enough for anything. It 
was easy enough to know her, if that was all the trou- 
ble ! All Mrs. Mavis would have to do would be to go 
right up to her next morning, when she took her 
daughter to the ship (she would see her there on the 
deck with her party) and tell her fair and square what 
she wanted. Mrs. Nettlepoint had daughters herself 
and would easily understand. Very likely she'd even 
look after Grace a little on i:he other side, in such a 
queer situation, going out alone to the gentleman she 
was engaged to: she'd just help her, like a good 
Samaritan, to turn round before she was married. 
Mr. Porterfield seemed to think they would n't wait 
long, once she was there : they would have it right over 
at the American consul's. Mrs. Allen had said it 
would perhaps be better still to go and see Mrs. Net- 
tlepoint beforehand, that day, to tell her what they 
wanted : then they would n't seem to spring it on her 
just as she was leaving. She herself (Mrs. Allen) 
would call and say a word for them if she could save 
ten minutes before catching her train. If she had n't 
come it was because she had n't saved her ten min- 

180 



THE PATAGONIA 

utes ; but she had made them feel that they must come 
all the same. Mrs. Mavis liked that better, because 
on the ship in the morning there would be such a con- 
fusion. She did n't think her daughter would be any 
trouble conscientiously she did n't. It was just to 
have some one to speak to her and not sally forth like 
a servant-girl going to a situation. 

"I see, I'm to act as a sort of bridesmaid and to 
give her away," Mrs. Nettlepoint obligingly said. 
Kind enough in fact for anything, she showed on this 
occasion that it was easy enough to know her. There 
is notoriously nothing less desirable than an imposed 
aggravation of effort at sea, but she accepted without 
betrayed dismay the burden of the young lady's de- 
pendence and allowed her, as Mrs. Mavis said, to 
hook herself on. She evidently had the habit of pa- 
tience, and her reception of her visitors' story re- 
minded me afresh I was reminded of it whenever I 
returned to my native land that my dear compa- 
triots are the people in the world who most freely take 
mutual accommodation for granted. They have 
always had to help themselves, and have rather mag- 
nanimously failed to learn just where helping others 
is distinguishable from that. In no country are there 
fewer forms and more reciprocities. 

It was doubtless not singular that the ladies from 
Merrimac Avenue should n't feel they were importun- 
ate: what was striking was that Mrs. Nettlepoint 
did n't appear to suspect it. However, she would in 
any case have thought it inhuman to show this 
though I could see that under the surface she was 
amused at everything the more expressive of the pil- 

181 



THE PATAGONIA 

grims from the South End took for granted. I scarce 
know whether the attitude of the younger visitor 
added or not to the merit of her good nature. Mr. 
Porterfield's intended took no part in the demonstra- 
tion, scarcely spoke, sat looking at the Back Bay and 
the lights on the long bridge. She declined the lemon- 
ade and the other mixtures which, at Mrs. Nettle- 
point's request, I offered her, while her mother par- 
took freely of everything and I reflected for I as 
freely drained a glass or two in which the ice tinkled 
that Mr. Jasper had better hurry back if he wished 
to enjoy these luxuries. 

Was the effect of the young woman's reserve mean- 
while ungracious, or was it only natural that in her 
particular situation she should n't have a flow of com- 
pliment at her command ? I noticed that Mrs. Nettle- 
point looked at her often, and certainly though she 
was undemonstrative Miss Mavis was interesting. 
The candle-light enabled me to see that though not in 
the very first flower of her youth she was still fresh and 
handsome. Her eyes and hair were dark, her face was 
pale, and she held up her head as if, with its thick 
braids and everything else involved in it, it were an 
appurtenance she was n't ashamed of. If her mother 
was excellent and common she was not common 
not at least flagrantly so and perhaps also not ex- 
cellent. At all events she would n't be, in appearance 
at least, a dreary appendage; which in the case of a 
person "hooking on" was always something gained. 
Was it because something of a romantic or pathetic 
interest usually attaches to a good creature who has 
been the victim of a "long engagement" that this 

182 



THE PATAGONIA 

young lady made an impression on me from the first 
favoured as I had been so quickly with this glimpse 
of her history ? I could charge her certainly with no 
positive appeal; she only held her tongue and smiled, 
and her smile corrected whatever suggestion might 
have forced itself upon me that the spirit within her 
was dead the spirit of that promise of which she 
found herself doomed to carry out the letter. 

What corrected it less, I must add, was an odd 
recollection which gathered vividness as I listened to 
it a mental association evoked by the name of Mr. 
Porterfield. Surely I had a personal impression, over- 
smeared and confused, of the gentleman who was 
waiting at Liverpool, or who presently would be, for 
Mrs. Nettlepoint's protegee. I had met him, known 
him, some time, somewhere, somehow, on the other 
side. Wasn't he studying something, very hard, 
somewhere probably in Paris ten years before, 
and did n't he make extraordinarily neat drawings, 
linear and architectural ? Did n't he go to a table 
d'hote, at two francs twenty-five, in the Rue Bona- 
parte, which I then frequented, and did n't he wear 
spectacles and a Scotch plaid arranged in a manner 
which seemed to say "I've trustworthy information 
that that 's the way they do it in the Highlands " ? 
Was n't he exemplary to positive irritation, and very 
poor, poor to positive oppression, so that I supposed 
he had no overcoat and his tartan would be what he 
slept under at night ? Was n't he working very hard 
still, and would n't he be, in the natural course, not 
yet satisfied that he had found his feet or knew enough 
to launch out ? He would be a man of long prepara- 



THE PATAGONIA 

tions Miss Mavis's white face seemed to speak to 
one of that. It struck me that if I had been in love 
with her I should n't have needed to lay such a train 
for the closer approach. Architecture was his line and 
he was a pupil of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. This 
reminiscence grew so much more vivid with me that 
at the end often minutes I had an odd sense of know- 
ing by implication a good deal about the young 
lady. 

Even after it was settled that Mrs. Nettlepoint 
would do everything possible for her the other visitor 
sat sipping our iced liquid and telling how "low " Mr. 
Mavis had been. At this period the girl's silence struck 
me as still more conscious, partly perhaps because she 
deprecated her mother's free flow she was enough 
of an "improvement" to measure that and partly 
because she was too distressed by the idea of leaving 
her infirm, her perhaps dying father. It was n't in- 
distinguishable that they were poor and that she 
would take out a very small purse for her trousseau. 
For Mr. Porterfield to make up the sum his own case 
would have had moreover greatly to change. If he had 
enriched himself by the successful practice of his pro- 
fession I had encountered no edifice he had reared 
his reputation had n't come to my ears. 

Mrs. Nettlepoint notified her new friends that she 
was a very inactive person at sea : she was prepared to 
suffer to the full with Miss Mavis, but not prepared to 
pace the deck with her, to struggle with her, to accom- 
pany her to meals. To this the girl replied that she 
would trouble her little, she was sure : she was con- 
vinced she should prove a wretched sailor and spend 

184 



THE PATAGONIA 

the voyage on her back. Her mother scoffed at this 
picture, prophesying perfect weather and a lovely time, 
and I interposed to the effect that if I might be 
trusted, as a tame bachelor fairly sea-seasoned, I 
should be delighted to give the new member of our 
party an arm or any other countenance whenever she 
should require it. Both the ladies thanked me for this 
taking my professions with no sort of abatement 
and the elder one declared that we were evidently 
going to be such a sociable group that it was too bad 
to have to stay at home. She asked Mrs. Nettlepoint 
if there were any one else in our party, and when our 
hostess mentioned her son there was a chance of his 
embarking but (was n't it absurd ?) he had n't decided 
yet she returned with extraordinary candour: "Oh 
dear, I do hope he '11 go : that would be so lovely for 
Grace." 

Somehow the words made me think of poor Mr. 
Porterfield's tartan, especially as Jasper Nettlepoint 
strolled in again at that moment. His mother at once 
challenged him : it was ten o'clock ; had he by chance 
made up his great mind ? Apparently he failed to hear 
her, being in the first place surprised at the strange 
ladies and then struck with the fact that one of them 
was n't strange. The young man, after a slight hesi- 
tation, greeted Miss Mavis with a handshake and a 
"Oh good-evening, how do you do?" He didn't 
utter her name which I could see he must have for- 
gotten; but she immediately pronounced his, availing 
herself of the American girl's discretion to " present " 
him to her mother. 

"Well, you might have told me you knew him all 

185 



THE PATAGONIA 

this time ! " that lady jovially cried. Then she had an 
equal confidence for Mrs. Nettlepoint. " It would have 
saved me a worry an acquaintance already begun." 
"Ah my son's acquaintances 1" our hostess 
murmured. 

"Yes, and my daughter's too!" Mrs. Mavis gaily 
echoed. "Mrs. Allen did n't tell us you were going," 
she continued to the young man. 

"She 'd have been clever if she had been able to ! " 
Mrs. Nettlepoint sighed. 

"Dear mother, I have my telegram," Jasper re- 
marked, looking at Grace Mavis. 

"I know you very little," the girl said, returning his 
observation. 

"I've danced with you at some ball for some 
sufferers by something or other." 

"I think it was an inundation or a big fire," she a 
little languidly smiled. " But it was a long time ago 
and I have n't seen you since." 

"I 've been in far countries to my loss. I should 
have said it was a big fire." 

"It was at the Horticultural Hall. I did n't remem- 
ber your name," said Grace Mavis. 

"That's very unkind of you, when I recall vividly 
that you had a pink dress." 

"Oh I remember that dress your strawberry 
tarletan : you looked lovely in it ! " Mrs. Mavis broke 
out. "You must get another just like it on the 
other side." 

"Yes, your daughter looked charming in it/' said 
Jasper Nettlepoint. Then he added to the girl : "Yet 
you mentioned my name to your mother." 

186 



THE PATAGONIA 

"It came back to me seeing you here. I had no 
idea this was your home." 

"Well, I confess it is n't, much. Oh there are some 
drinks ! " he approached the tray and its glasses. 

"Indeed there are and quite delicious" Mrs. 
Mavis largely wiped her mouth. 

"Won't you have another then ? a pink one, like 
your daughter's gown." 

"With pleasure, sir. Oh do see them over," Mrs. 
Mavis continued, accepting from the young man's 
hand a third tumbler. 

"My mother and that gentleman ? Surely they can 
take care of themselves," he freely pleaded. 

"Then my daughter she has a claim as an old 
friend." 

But his mother had by this time interposed. "Jas- 
per, what does your telegram say ? " 

He paid her no heed : he stood there with his glass 
in his hand, looking from Mrs. Mavis to Miss Grace. 

"Ah leave her to me, madam; I'm quite compet- 
ent," I said to Mrs. Mavis. 

Then the young man gave me his attention. The 
next minute he asked of the girl: "Do you mean 
you 're going to Europe ? " 

"Yes, to-morrow. In the same ship as your 
mother." 

"That 's what we 've come here for, to see all about 
it," said Mrs. Mavis. 

"My son, take pity on me and tell me what light 
your telegram throws," Mrs. Nettlepoint went on. 

"I will, dearest, when I've quenched my thirst." 
And he slowly drained his glass. 

187 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Well, I declare you're worse than Grade," Mrs. 
Mavis commented. " She was first one thing and then 
the other but only about up to three o'clock yes- 
terday." 

"Excuse me won't you take something ?" Jasper 
enquired of Gracie; who however still declined, as if 
to make up for her mother's copious consommation. 
I found myself quite aware that the two ladies would 
do well to take leave, the question of Mrs. Nettle- 
point's good will being so satisfactorily settled and the 
meeting of the morrow at the ship so near at hand ; 
and I went so far as to judge that their protracted 
stay, with their hostess visibly in a fidget, gave the 
last proof of their want of breeding. Miss Grace after 
all then was not such an improvement on her mother, 
for she easily might have taken the initiative of de- 
parture, in spite of Mrs. Mavis's evident "game" 
of making her own absorption of refreshment last as 
long as possible. I watched the girl with increasing 
interest; I could n't help asking myself a question or 
two about her and even perceiving already (in a dim 
and general way) that rather marked embarrassment, 
or at least anxiety attended her. Was n't it compli- 
cating that she should have needed, by remaining 
long enough, to assuage a certain suspense, to learn 
whether or no Jasper were going to sail ? Had n't 
something particular passed between them on the 
occasion or at the period to which we had caught 
their allusion, and did n't she really not know her 
mother was bringing her to his mother's, though she 
apparently had thought it well not to betray know- 
ledge ? Such things were symptomatic though in- 

188 



THE PATAGONIA 

deed one scarce knew of what on the part of a 
young lady betrothed to that curious cross-barred 
phantom of a Mr. Porterfield. But I am bound to 
add that she gave me no further warrant for wonder 
than was conveyed in her all tacitly and covertly 
encouraging her mother to linger. Somehow I had a 
sense that she was conscious of the indecency of this. 
I got up myself to go, but Mrs. Nettlepoint detained 
me after seeing that my movement would n't be taken 
as a hint, and I felt she wished me not to leave my 
fellow visitors on her hands. Jasper complained of 
the closeness of the room, said that it was not a night 
to sit in a room one ought to be out in the air, under 
the sky. He denounced the windows that overlooked 
the water for not opening upon a balcony or a terrace, 
until his mother, whom he had n't yet satisfied about 
his telegram, reminded him that there was a beautiful 
balcony in front, with room for a dozen people. She 
assured him we would go and sit there if it would 
please him. 

" It will be nice and cool to-morrow, when we steam 
into the great ocean," said Miss Mavis, expressing 
with more vivacity than she had yet thrown into any 
of her utterances my own thought of half an hour 
before. Mrs. Nettlepoint replied that it would prob- 
ably be freezing cold, and her son murmured that he 
would go and try the drawing-room balcony and 
report upon it. Just as he was turning away he said, 
smiling, to Miss Mavis: "Won't you come with me 
and see if it J s pleasant ? " 

"Oh well, we had better not stay all night!" her 
mother exclaimed, but still without moving. The girl 

180 



THE PATAGONIA 

moved, after a moment's hesitation; she rose and 
accompanied Jasper to the other room. I saw how 
her slim tallness showed to advantage as she walked 
and that she looked well as she passed, with her head 
thrown back, into the darkness of the other part of 
the house. There was something rather marked, 
rather surprising I scarcely knew why, for the act 
in itself was simple enough in her acceptance of such 
a plea, and perhaps it was our sense of this that held 
the rest of us somewhat stiffly silent as she remained 
away. I was waiting for Mrs. Mavis to go, so that I 
myself might go; and Mrs. Nettlepoint was waiting 
for her to go so that I might n't. This doubtless made 
the young lady's absence appear to us longer than it 
really was it was probably very brief. Her mother 
moreover, I think, had now a vague lapse from ease. 
Jasper Nettlepoint presently returned to the back 
drawing-room to serve his companion with our lucent 
syrup, and he took occasion to remark that it was 
lovely on the balcony: one really got some air, the 
breeze being from that quarter. I remembered, as 
he went away with his tinkling tumbler, that from my 
hand, a few minutes before, Miss Mavis had not been 
willing to accept this innocent offering. A little later 
Mrs. Nettlepoint said : "Well, if it 's so pleasant there 
we had better go ourselves/' So we passed to the 
front and in the other room met the two young people 
coming in from the balcony. I was to wonder, in the 
light of later things, exactly how long they had occu- 
pied together a couple of the set of cane chairs gar- 
nishing the place in summer. If it had been but five 
minutes that only made subsequent events more curi- 

190 



THE PATAGONIA 

ous. " We must go, mother/' Miss Mavis immediately 
said; and a moment after, with a little renewal of 
chatter as to our general meeting on the ship, the 
visitors had taken leave. Jasper went down with them 
to the door and as soon as they had got off Mrs. 
Nettlepoint quite richly exhaled her impression. "Ah 
but she '11 be a bore she '11 be a bore of bores ! " 

"Not through talking too much, surely." 

"An affectation of silence is as bad. I hate that 
particular pose; it's coming up very much now; an 
imitation of the English, like everything else. A girl 
who tries to be statuesque at sea that will act on 
one's nerves ! " 

" I don't know what she tries to be, but she succeeds 
in being very handsome." 

" So much the better for you. I '11 leave her to you, 
for I shall be shut up. I like her being placed under 
my 'care'!" my friend cried. 

"She'll be under Jasper's," I remarked. 

"Ah he won't go," she wailed "I want it too 
much!" 

" But I did n't see it that way. I have an idea he '11 

go" 

"Why did n't he tell me so then when he came 

in?" 

"He was diverted by that young woman a 
beautiful unexpected girl sitting there." 

"Diverted from his mother and her fond hope ? 
his mother trembling for his decision ? " 

"Well" I pieced it together "she's an old 
friend, older than we know. It was a meeting after 
a long separation." 

191 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Yes, such a lot of them as he does know!" Mrs. 
Nettlepoint sighed. 

"Such a lot of them?" 

"He has so many female friends in the most 
varied circles." 

"Well, we can close round her then," I returned; 
"for I on my side know, or used to know, her young 



man." 



"Her intended?" she had a light of relief for 
this. 

"The very one she 's going out to. He can't, by the 
way," it occurred to me, "be very young now." 

"How odd it sounds her muddling after him!" 
said Mrs. Nettlepoint. 

I was going to reply that it was n't odd if you knew 
Mr. Porterfield, but I reflected that that perhaps only 
made it odder. I told my companion briefly who he 
was that I had met him in the old Paris days, when 
I believed for a fleeting hour that I could learn to paint, 
when I lived with the jeunesse des ecoles; and her com- 
ment on this was simply: "Well, he had better have 
come out for her ! " 

"Perhaps so. She looked to me as she sat there as 
if she might change her mind at the last moment." 

"About her marriage?" 

"About sailing. But she won't change now." 

Jasper came back, and his mother instantly chal- 
lenged him. "Well, are you going?" 

"Yes, I shall go " he was finally at peace about 
it. " I 've got my telegram." 

"Oh your telegram ! " I ventured a little to jeer. 
"That charming girl's your telegram." 

192 



THE PATAGONIA 



He gave me a look, but in the dusk I could n't 
make out very well what it conveyed. Then he bent 
over his mother, kissing her. "My news isn't par- 
ticularly satisfactory. I 'm going for you" 

"Oh you humbug! "she replied. But she was of 
course delighted. 



II 



PEOPLE usually spend the first hours of a voyage in 
squeezing themselves into their cabins, taking their 
little precautions, either so excessive or so inadequate, 
wondering how they can pass so many days in such 
a hole and asking idiotic questions of the stewards, 
who appear in comparison rare men of the world. 
My own initiations were rapid, as became an old 
sailor, and so, it seemed, were Miss Mavis's, for when 
I mounted to the deck at the end of half an hour I 
found her there alone, in the stern of the ship, her 
eyes on the dwindling continent. It dwindled very 
fast for so big a place. I accosted her, having had no 
conversation with her amid the crowd of leave-takers 
and the muddle of farewells before we put off; we 
talked a little about the boat, our fellow passengers 
and our prospects, and then I said: "I think you 
mentioned last night a name I know that of Mr. 
Porterfield." 

"Oh no I didn't!" she answered very straight 
while she smiled at me through her closely-drawn 
veil. 

"Then it was your mother." 

"Very likely it was my mother." And she continued 
to smile as if I ought to have known the difference. 

" I venture to allude to him because I Ve an idea 
I used to know him," I went on. 

"Oh I see." And beyond this remark she appeared 
194 



THE PATAGONIA 

to take no interest; she left it to me to make any con- 
nexion. 

"That is if it's the same one." It struck me as 
feeble to say nothing more; so I added "My Mr. 
Porterfield was called David." 

"Well, so is ours." "Ours" affected me as clever. 

" I suppose I shall see him again if he 's to meet you 
at Liverpool," I continued. 

"Well, it will be bad if he doesn't." 

It was too soon for me to have the idea that it would 
be bad if he did : that only came later. So I remarked 
that, not having seen him for so many years, it was 
very possible I should n't know him. 

"Well, I've not seen him for a considerable time, 
but I expect I shall know him all the same." 

"Oh with you it's different," I returned with harm- 
lessly bright significance. " Has n't he been back since 
those days ? " 

"I don't know," she sturdily professed, "what days 
you mean." 

"When I knew him in Paris ages ago. He was a 
pupil of the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He was studying 
architecture." 

"Well, he 's studying it still," said Grace Mavis. 

"Has n't he learned it yet ?" 

"I don't know what he has learned. I shall see." 
Then she added for the benefit of my perhaps undue 
levity: "Architecture's very difficult and he's tre- 
mendously thorough." 

"Oh yes, I remember that. He was an admirable 
worker. But he must have become quite a foreigner 
if it's so many years since he has been at home." 

195 



THE PATAGONIA 

She seemed to regard this proposition at first as 
complicated ; but she did what she could for me. "Oh 
he's not changeable. If he were changeable " 
Then, however, she paused. I dare say she had been 
going to observe that if he were changeable he would 
long ago have given her up. After an instant she went 
on: "He wouldn't have stuck so to his profession. 
You can't make much by it." 

I sought to attenuate her rather odd maidenly grim- 
ness. "It depends on what you call much/' 

"It does n't make you rich." 

"Oh of course you've got to practise it and to 
practise it long." 

"Yes so Mr. Porterfield says." 

Something in the way she uttered these words 
made me laugh they were so calm an implication 
that the gentleman in question did n't live up to his 
principles. But I checked myself, asking her if she 
expected to remain in Europe long to what one 
might call settle. 

"Well, it will be a good while if it takes me as long 
to come back as it has taken me to go out." 

"And I think your mother said last night that it 
was your first visit." 

Miss Mavis, in her deliberate way, met my eyes. 
"Did n't mother talk!" 

"It was all very interesting." 

She continued to look at me. "You don't think 
that," she then simply stated. 

"What have I to gain then by saying it ? " 

"Oh men have always something to gain." 

"You make me in that case feel a terrible failure! 
196 



THE PATAGONIA 

I hope at any rate that it gives you pleasure/' I went 
on, "the idea of seeing foreign lands." 

"Mercy I should think so!" 

This was almost genial, and it cheered me propor- 
tionately. "It's a pity our ship's not one of the fast 
ones, if you're impatient." 

She was silent a little; after which she brought out : 
"Oh I guess it 'ill be fast enough!" 

That evening I went in to see Mrs. Nettlepoint and 
sat on her sea-trunk, which was pulled out from under 
the berth to accommodate me. It was nine o'clock 
but not quite dark, as our northward course had 
already taken us into the latitude of the longer days. 
She had made her nest admirably and now rested 
from her labours ; she lay upon her sofa in a dressing- 
gown and a cap that became her. It was her regular 
practice to spend the voyage in her cabin, which smelt 
positively good such was the refinement of her art; 
and she had a secret peculiar to herself for keeping 
her port open without shipping seas. She hated what 
she called the mess of the ship and the idea, if she 
should go above, of meeting stewards with plates of 
supererogatory food. She professed to be content with 
her situation we promised to lend each other books 
and I assured her familiarly that I should be in and 
out of her room a dozen times a day pitying me for 
having to mingle in society. She judged this a limited 
privilege, for on the deck before we left the wharf she 
had taken a view of our fellow passengers. 

"Oh I'm an inveterate, almost a professional ob- 
server," I replied, "and with that vice I'm as well 
occupied as an old woman in the sun with her knit- 

197 



THE PATAGONIA 

ring. It makes me, in any situation, just inordinately 
and submissively see things. I shall see them even here 
and shall come down very often and tell you about 
them. You 're not interested to-day, but you will be 
to-morrow, for a ship 's a great school of gossip. You 
won't believe the number of researches and problems 
you'll be engaged in by the middle of the voyage." 

"I ? Never in the world ! lying here with my nose 
in a book and not caring a straw/' 

"You'll participate at second hand. You'll see 
through my eyes, hang upon my lips, take sides, feel 
passions, all sorts of sympathies and indignations. 
I *ve an idea," I further developed, "that your young 
lady 's the person on board who will interest me most." 

"'Mine' indeed! She has n't been near me since 
we left the dock." 

"There you are you do feel she owes you some- 
thing. Well," I added, "she's very curious." 

"You've such cold-blooded terms!" Mrs. Nettle- 
point wailed. " Elle ne sait pas se conduire; she ought 
to have come to ask about me." 

"Yes, since you *re under her care," I laughed. "As 
for her not knowing how to behave well, that 's ex- 
actly what we shall see." 

"You will, but not I ! I wash my hands of her." 

"Don't say that don't say that." 

Mrs. Nettlepoint looked at me a moment. "Why do 
you speak so solemnly ? " 

In return I considered her. "I *11 tell you before we 
land. And have you seen much of your son ? " 

"Oh yes, he has come in several times. He seems 
very much pleased. He has got a cabin to himself." 



THE PATAGONIA 

"That 's great luck," I said, "but I 've an idea he 's 
always in luck. I was sure I should have to offer him 
the second berth in my room." 

"And you would n't have enjoyed that, because you 
don't like him," she took upon herself to say. 

"What put that into your head ?" 

" It is n't in my head it 's in my heart, my cceur de 
mere. We guess those things. You think he's selfish. 
I could see it last night." 

"Dear lady," I contrived promptly enough to reply, 
" I 've no general ideas about him at all. He 's just one 
of the phenomena I am going to observe. He seems 
to me a very fine young man. However," I added, 
"since you've mentioned last night I'll admit that 
I thought he rather tantalised you. He played with 
your suspense." 

"Why he came at the last just to please me," said 
Mrs. Nettlepoint. 

I was silent a little. "Are you sure it was for 
your sake ? " 

"Ah, perhaps it was for yours!" 

I bore up, however, against this thrust, character- 
istic of perfidious woman when you presume to side 
with her against a fond tormentor. "When he went 
out on the balcony with that girl," I found assurance 
to suggest, "perhaps she asked him to come for hers. 9 ' 

" Perhaps she did. But why should he do every- 
thing she asks him such as she is ? " 

"I don't know yet, but perhaps I shall know later. 
Not that he'll tell me for he'll never tell me any- 
thing: he's not," I consistently opined, "one of those 
who tell." 

199 



THE PATAGONIA 

"If she did n't ask him, what you say is a great 
wrong to her/' said Mrs. Nettlepoint. 

"Yes, if she did n't. But you say that to protect 
Jasper not to protect her," I smiled. 

"You are cold-blooded it's uncanny!" my friend 
exclaimed. 

"Ah this is nothing yet ! Wait a while you '11 see. 
At sea in general I 'm awful I exceed the limits. 
If I 've outraged her in thought I '11 jump overboard. 
There are ways of asking a man does n't need to 
tell a woman that without the crude words." 

"I don't know what you imagine between them," 
said Mrs. Nettlepoint. 

"Well, nothing," I allowed, " but what was visible 
on the surface. It transpired, as the newspapers say, 
that they were old friends." 

"He met her at some promiscuous party I asked 
him about it afterwards. She 's not a person " my 
hostess was confident "whom he could ever think 
of seriously." 

"That's exactly what I believe." 
"You don't observe you know you imagine," 
Mrs. Nettlepoint continued to argue. "How do you 
reconcile her laying a trap for Jasper with her going 
out to Liverpool on an errand of love ? " 

Oh I was n't to be caught that way ! " I don't for an 
instant suppose she laid a trap; I believe she acted on 
the impulse of the moment. She 's going out to Liver- 
pool on an errand of marriage; that's not necessarily 
the same thing as an errand of love, especially for one 
who happens to have had a personal impression of the 
gentleman she's engaged to." 

200 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Well, there are certain decencies which in such a 
situation the most abandoned of her sex would still 
observe. You apparently judge her capable on no 
evidence of violating them." 

"Ah you don't understand the shades of things/' I 
returned. "Decencies and violations, dear lady 
there 's no need for such heavy artillery ! I can per- 
fectly imagine that without the least immodesty she 
should have said to Jasper on the balcony, in fact if 
not in words : * I 'm in dreadful spirits, but if you come 
I shall feel better, and that will be pleasant for you 



too/" 



"And why is she in dreadful spirits ?" 

"She is n't l" I replied, laughing. 

My poor friend wondered. "What then is she 
doing?" 

"She's walking with your son." 

Mrs. Nettlepoint for a moment said nothing; then 
she treated me to another inconsequence. "Ah she's 
horrid!" 

"No, she's charming!" I protested. 

"You mean she's 'curious'?" 

"Well, for me it's the same thing!" 

This led my friend of course to declare once more 
that I was cold-blooded. On the afternoon of the 
morrow we had another talk, and she told me that in 
the morning Miss Mavis had paid her a long visit. 
She knew nothing, poor creature, about anything, but 
her intentions were good and she was evidently in her 
own eyes conscientious and decorous. And Mrs. 
Nettlepoint concluded these remarks with the sigh: 
"Unfortunate person ! " 

201 



THE PATAGONIA 

"You think she's a good deal to be pitied then ?" 

"Well, her story sounds dreary she told me a 

good deal of it. She fell to talking little by little 

and went from one thing to another. She's in that 

situation when a girl must open herself to some 



woman." 



"Hasn't she got Jasper?" I asked. 

"He is n't a woman. You strike me as jealous of 
him," my companion added. 

"I dare say be thinks so or will before the end. 
Ah no ah no ! " And I asked Mrs. Nettlepoint if 
our young lady struck her as, very grossly, a flirt. She 
gave me no answer, but went on to remark that she 
found it odd and interesting to see the way a girl like 
Grace Mavis resembled the girls of the kind she her- 
self knew better, the girls of "society," at the same 
time that she differed from them; and the way the dif- 
ferences and resemblances were so mixed up that on 
certain questions you could n't tell where you 'd find 
her. You 'd think she 'd feel as you did because you 
had found her feeling so, and then suddenly, in regard 
to some other matter which was yet quite the same 
she'd be utterly wanting. Mrs. Nettlepoint pro- 
ceeded to observe to such idle speculations does the 
vacancy of sea-hours give encouragement that she 
wondered whether it were better to be an ordinary girl 
very well brought up or an extraordinary girl not 
brought up at all. 

"Oh I go in for the extraordinary girl under all cir- 
cumstances." 

" It 's true that if you 're very well brought up you 
*re not, you can't be, ordinary," said Mrs. Nettlepoint, 

202 



THE PATAGONIA 

smelling her strong salts. "You're a lady, at any 
rate." 

"And Miss Mavis is fifty miles out is that what 
you mean ? " 

"Well you've seen her mother." 

"Yes, but I think your contention would be that 
among such people the mother does n't count/* 

"Precisely, and that's bad." 

"I see what you mean. But is n't it rather hard ? 
If your mother does n't know anything it 's better you 
should be independent of her, and yet if you are that 
constitutes a bad note/' I added that Mrs. Mavis had 
appeared to count sufficiently two nights before. She 
had said and done everything she wanted, while the 
girl sat silent and respectful. Grace's attitude, so far as 
her parent was concerned, had been eminently decent. 

"Yes, but she 'squirmed' for her," said Mrs. Net- 
tlepoint. 

"Ah if you know it I may confess she has told me 
as much." 

My friend stared. "Told^ow? There's one of the 
things they do ! " 

"Well, it was only a word. Won't you let me know 
whether you do think her a flirt?" 

"Try her yourself that's better than asking an- 
other woman; especially as you pretend to study 
folk." 

"Oh your judgement wouldn't probably at all 
determine mine. It's as bearing on you I ask it." 
Which, however, demanded explanation, so that I was 
duly frank; confessing myself curious as to how far 
maternal immorality would go. 

203 



THE PATAGONIA 

It made her at first but repeat my words. "Mater- 
nal immorality ? " 

"You desire your son to have every possible dis- 
traction on his voyage, and if you can make up your 
mind in the sense I refer to that will make it all right. 
He'll have no responsibility/' 

"Heavens, how you analyse!" she cried. "I 
have n't in the least your passion for making up my 
mind." 

"Then if you chance it," I returned, "you'll be 
more immoral still." 

"Your reasoning's strange," said Mrs. Nettle- 
point; "when it was you who tried to put into my 
head yesterday that she had asked him to come." 
"Yes, but in good faith." 
"What do you mean, in such a case, by that ?" 
"Why, as girls of that sort do. Their allowance and 
measure in such matters," I expounded, "is much 
larger than that of young persons who have been, as 
you say, very well brought up; and yet I'm not sure 
that on the whole I don't think them thereby the more 
innocent. Miss Mavis is engaged, and she's to be 
married next week, but it's an old old story, and 
there 's no more romance in it than if she were going to 
be photographed. So her usual life proceeds, and her 
usual life consists and that of ces demoiselles in gen- 
eral in having plenty of gentlemen's society. Hav- 
ing it I mean without having any harm from it." 

Mrs. Nettlepoint had given me due attention, 
"Well, if there 's no harm from it what are you talking 
about and why am I immoral ? " 
I hesitated, laughing. "I retract you're sane 
204 



THE PATAGONIA 

and clear. I 'm sure she thinks there won't be any 
harm," I added. "That's the great point." 

"The great point?" 

"To be settled, I mean/' 

"Mercy, we're not trying them!" cried my friend. 
"How can we settle it?" 

"I mean of course in our minds. There will be no- 
thing more interesting these next ten days for our 
minds to exercise themselves upon." 

"Then they'll get terribly tired of it," said Mrs. 
Nettlepoint. 

"No, no because the interest will increase and 
the plot will thicken. It simply can't not" I insisted. 
She looked at me as if she thought me more than 
Mephistophelean, and I went back to something she 
had lately mentioned, "So she told you everything in 
her life was dreary ? " 

"Not everything, but most things. And she did n't 
tell me so much as I guessed it. She 'II tell me more the 
next time. She '11 behave properly now about coming 
in to see me; I told her she ought to." 

" I 'm glad of that," I said. "Keep her with you as 
much as possible/' 

"I don't follow you closely," Mrs. Nettlepoint 
replied, " but so far as I do I don't think your remarks 
in the best taste." 

"Well, I'm too excited, I lose my head in these 
sports," I had to recognise "cold-blooded as you 
think me. Does n't she like Mr. Porterfield ?" 

"Yes, that's the worst of it." 

I kept making her stare. "The worst of it ?" 

"He 's so good there 's no fault to be found with 
205 



THE PATAGONIA 

him. Otherwise she 'd have thrown it all up. It has 
dragged on since she was eighteen : she became en- 
gaged to him before he went abroad to study. It was 
one of those very young and perfectly needless blun- 
ders that parents in America might make so much 
less possible than they do. The thing is to insist on 
one's daughter's waiting, on the engagement's being 
long; and then, after you 've got that started, to take it 
on every occasion as little seriously as possible to 
make it die out. You can easily tire it to death," Mrs. 
Nettlepoint competently stated. " However," she con- 
cluded, "Mr. Porterfield has taken this one seriously 
for some years. He has done his part to keep it alive. 
She says he adores her." 

"His part? Surely his part would have been to 
marry her by this time." 

"He has really no money." My friend was even 
more confidently able to report it than I had been. 

"He ought to have got some, in seven years," I 
audibly reflected. 

"So I think she thinks. There are some sorts of 
helplessness that are contemptible. However, a small 
difference has taken place. That 's why he won't wait 
any longer. His mother has come out, she has some- 
thing a little and she's able to assist him. 
She'll live with them and bear some of the expenses, 
and after her death the son will have what there is." 
"How old is she?" I cynically asked. 
"I have n't the least idea. But it does n't, on his 
part, sound very heroic or very inspiring for our 
friend here. He has n't been to America since he first 



went out." 

206 



THE PATAGONIA 

"That's an odd way of adoring her," I observed. 

" I made that objection mentally, but I did n't ex- 
press it to her. She met it indeed a little by telling me 
that he had had other chances to marry." 

"That surprises me," I remarked. "But did she 
say," I asked, "that she had had ?" 

"No, and that's one of the things I thought nice in 
her; for she must have had. She did n't try to make 
out that he had spoiled her life. She has three other 
sisters and there 's very little money at home. She has 
tried to make money; she has written little things and 
painted little things and dreadful little things they 
must have been; too bad to think of. Her father has 
had a long illness and has lost his place he was in 
receipt of a salary in connexion with some waterworks 
and one of her sisters has lately become a widow, 
with children and without means. And so as in fact 
she never has married any one else, whatever oppor- 
tunities she may have encountered, she appears to 
have just made up her mind to go out to Mr. Porter- 
field as the least of her evils. But it is n't very amus- 
ing." 

"Well," I judged after all, "that only makes her 
doing it the more honourable. She '11 go through with 
it, whatever it costs, rather than disappoint him after 
he has waited so long. It's true," I continued, "that 
when a woman acts from a sense of honour !" 

"Well, when she does ?" said Mrs. Nettlepoint, for 
I hung back perceptibly. 

"It's often so extravagant and unnatural a pro- 
ceeding as to entail heavy costs on some one." 

"You're very impertinent. We all have to pay for 
207 



THE PATAGONIA 

each other all the while; and for each other's virtues as 
well as vices." 

"That's precisely why I shall be sorry for Mr. Por- 
terfield when she steps off the ship with her little bill. 
I mean with her teeth clenched." 

"Her teeth are not in the least clenched. She's 
quite at her ease now" Mrs. Nettlepoint could 
answer for that. 

" Well, we must try and keep her so," I said. "You 
must take care that Jasper neglects nothing." 

I scarce know what reflexions this innocent pleas- 
antry of mine provoked on the good lady's part; the 
upshot of them at all events w#s to make her say : 
"Well, I never asked her to come; I'm very glad of 
that. It's all their own doing." 

"* Their' own you mean Jasper's and hers ?" 

" No indeed. I mean her mother's and Mrs. Allen's ; 
the girl's too of course. They put themselves on us by 
main force." 

"Oh yes, I can testify to that. Therefore 1 'm glad 
too. We should have missed it, I think." 

"How seriously you take it!" Mrs. Nettlepoint 
amusedly cried. 

"Ah wait a few days ! " and I got up to leave her. 



Ill 

THE Patagonia was slow, but spacious and comfort- 
able, and there was a motherly decency in her long 
nursing rock and her rustling old-fashioned gait, the 
multitudinous swish, in her wake, as of a thousand 
proper petticoats. It was as if she wished not to pre- 
sent herself in port with the splashed eagerness of a 
young creature. We were n't numerous enough quite 
to elbow each other and yet were n't too few to sup- 
port with that familiarity and relief which figures 
and objects acquire on the great bare field of the 
ocean and under the great bright glass of the sky. I 
had never liked the sea so much before, indeed I had 
never liked it at all ; but now I had a revelation of how 
in a midsummer mood it could please. It was darkly 
and magnificently blue and imperturbably quiet 
save for the great regular swell of its heart-beats, the 
pulse of its life; and there grew to be something so 
agreeable in the sense of floating there in infinite isola- 
tion and leisure that it was a positive godsend the 
Patagonia was no racer. One had never thought of 
the sea as the great place of safety, but now it came 
over one that there *s no place so safe from the land. 
When it does n't confer trouble it takes trouble away 
takes away letters and telegrams and newspapers 
and visits and duties and efforts, all the complications, 
all the superfluities and superstitions that we have 
stuffed into our terrene life. The simple absence of the 

209 



THE PATAGONIA 

post, when the particular conditions enable you to 
enjoy the great fact by which it 's produced, becomes 
in itself a positive bliss, and the clean boards of the 
deck turn to the stage of a play that amuses, the per- 
sonal drama of the voyage, the movement and inter- 
action, in the strong sea-light, of figures that end by 
representing something something moreover of 
which the interest is never, even in its keenness, too 
great to suffer you to slumber. I at any rate dozed to 
excess, stretched on my rug with a French novel, and 
when I opened my eyes I generally saw Jasper Nettle- 
point pass with the young woman confided to his 
mother's care on his arm. Somehow at these moments, 
between sleeping and waking, I inconsequently felt 
that my French novel had set them in motion. Per- 
haps this was because I had fallen into the trick, at 
the start, of regarding Grace Mavis almost as a mar- 
ried woman, which, as every one knows, is the nec- 
essary status of the heroine of such a work. Every 
revolution of our engine at any rate would contribute 
to the effect of making her one. 

In the saloon, at meals, my neighbour on the right 
was a certain little Mrs. Peck, a very short and very 
round person whose head was enveloped in a "cloud " 
(a cloud of dirty white wool) and who promptly let me 
know that she was going to Europe for the education 
of her children. I had already perceived an hour 
after we left the dock that some energetic measure 
was required in their interest, but as we were not in 
Europe yet the redemption of the four little Pecks was 
stayed. Enjoying untrammelled leisure they swarmed 
about the ship as if they had been pirates boarding 

210 



THE PATAGONIA 

her, and their mother was as powerless to check their 
licence as if she had been gagged and stowed away in 
the hold. They were especially to be trusted to di\e 
between the legs of the stewards when these attend- 
ants arrived with bowls of soup for the languid ladies. 
Their mother was too busy counting over to her fel- 
low passengers all the years Miss Mavis had been en- 
gaged. In the blank of our common detachment things 
that were nobody's business very soon became every- 
body's, and this was just one of those facts that are 
propagated with mysterious and ridiculous speed. 
The whisper that carries them is very small, in the 
great scale of things, of air and space and progress, but 
it's also very safe, for there's no compression, no 
sounding-board, to make speakers responsible. And 
then repetition at sea is somehow not repetition; 
monotony is in the air, the mind is flat and everything 
recurs the bells, the meals, the stewards' faces, the 
romp of children, the walk, the clothes, the very shoes 
and buttons of passengers taking their exercise. These 
things finally grow at once so circumstantial and so 
arid that, in comparison, lights on the personal history 
of one's companions become a substitute for the 
friendly flicker of the lost fireside. 

Jasper Nettlepoint sat on my left hand when he was 
not upstairs seeing that Miss Mavis had her repast 
comfortably on deck. His mother's place would have 
been next mine had she shown herself, and then that 
of the young lady under her care. These companions, 
in other words, would have been between us, Jasper 
marking the limit of the party in that quarter. Miss 
Mavis was present at luncheon the first day, but din- 

211 



THE PATAGONIA 

ner passed without her coming in, and when it was 
half over Jasper remarked that he would go up and 
look after her. 

"Is n't that young lady coming the one who was 
here to lunch ?" Mrs. Peck asked of me as he left the 
saloon. 

"Apparently not. My friend tells me she does n't 
like the saloon/* 

"You don't mean to say she's sick, do you?" 
"Oh no, not in this weather. But she likes to be 
above." 

"And is that gentleman gone up to her?" 
"Yes, she's under his mother's care." 
"And is his mother up there, too?" asked Mrs. 
Peck, whose processes were homely and direct. 

"No, she remains in her cabin. People have differ- 
ent tastes. Perhaps that 9 s one reason why Miss Mavis 
does n't come to table," I added " her chaperon not 
being able to accompany her." 
"Her chaperon ?" my fellow passenger echoed. 
"Mrs. Nettlepoint the lady under whose protec- 
tion she happens to be." 

"Protection ?" Mrs. Peck stared at me a moment, 
moving some valued morsel in her mouth; then she 
exclaimed familiarly " Pshaw ! " I was struck with this 
and was on the point of asking her what she meant by 
it when she continued: "Ain't we going to see Mrs. 
Nettlepoint?" 

"I 'm afraid not. She vows she won't stir from her 
sofa." 

"Pshaw!" said Mrs. Peck again. "That's quite a 
disappointment." 

212 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Do you know her then ?" 

"No, but I know all about her." Then my compan- 
ion added: "You don't mean to say she's any real 
relation ? " 

" Do you mean to me ? " 

"No, to Grace Mavis/' 

"None at all. They're very new friends, as I hap- 
pen to know. Then you 're acquainted with our young 
lady ? " I had n't noticed the passage of any recogni- 
tion between them at luncheon. 

"Is she your young lady too?" asked Mrs. Peck 
with high significance. 

"Ah when people are in the same boat literally 
they belong a little to each other/* 

"That's so," said Mrs. Peck. "I don't know Miss 
Mavis, but I know all about her I live opposite to 
her on Merrimac Avenue. I don't know whether you 
know that part." 

"Oh yes it's very beautiful." 

The consequence of this remark was another 
"Pshaw!" But Mrs. Peck went on: "When you've 
lived opposite to people like that for a long time you 
feel as if you had some rights in them tit for tat ! 
But she did n't take it up to-day; she did n't speak to 
me. She knows who I am as well as she knows her 
own mother." 

"You had better speak to her first she's consti- 
tutionally shy," I remarked. 

"Shy? She's constitutionally tough! Why she's 
thirty years old," cried my neighbour. " I suppose you 
know where she *s going." 

"Oh yes we all take an interest in that." 
213 



THE PATAGONIA 

"That young man, I suppose, particularly." And 
then as I feigned a vagueness: "The handsome one 
who sits there. Did n't you tell me he's Mrs. Nettle- 
point's son ? " 

"Oh yes he acts as her deputy. No doubt he 
does all he can to carry out her function." 

Mrs. Peck briefly brooded. I had spoken jocosely, 
but she took it with a serious face. "Well, she might 
let him eat his dinner in peace ! " she presently put 
forth. 

"Oh he 'II come back ! " I said, glancing at his place. 
The repast continued and when it was finished I 
screwed my chair round to leave the table. Mrs. Peck 
performed the same movement and we quitted the 
saloon together. Outside of it was the usual vestibule, 
with several seats, from which you could descend to 
the lower cabins or mount to the promenade-deck. 
Mrs. Peck appeared to hesitate as to her course and 
then solved the problem by going neither way. She 
dropped on one of the benches and looked up at me. 

" I thought you said he M come back." 

"Young Nettlepoint? Yes, I see he didn't. Miss 
Mavis then has given him half her dinner." 

"It's very kind of her! She has been engaged half 
her life." 

"Yes, but that will soon be over." 

"So I suppose as quick as ever we land. Every 
one knows it on Merrimac Avenue," Mrs. Peck pur- 
sued. "Every one there takes a great interest in it." 

"Ah of course a girl like that has many friends." 

But my informant discriminated. "I mean even 
people who don't know her." 

214 



THE PATAGONIA 

"I see," I went on: "she's so handsome that she 
attracts attention people enter into her affairs." 

Mrs. Peck spoke as from the commanding centre of 
these. " She used to be pretty, but I can't say I think 
she 9 s anything remarkable to-day. Anyhow, if she 
attracts attention she ought to be all the more careful 
what she does. You had better tell her that." 

"Oh it 's none of my business ! " I easily made out, 
leaving the terrible little woman and going above. 
This profession, I grant, was not perfectly attuned to 
my real idea, or rather my real idea was not quite in 
harmony with my profession. The very first thing I 
did on reaching the deck was to notice that Miss 
Mavis was pacing it on Jasper Nettlepoint's arm and 
that whatever beauty she might have lost, according 
to Mrs. Peck's insinuation, she still kept enough to 
make one's eyes follow her. She had put on a crimson 
hood, which was very becoming to her and which she 
wore for the rest of the voyage. She walked very well, 
with long steps, and I remember that at this moment 
the sea had a gentle evening swell which made the 
great ship dip slowly, rhythmically, giving a move- 
ment that was graceful to graceful pedestrians and a 
more awkward one to the awkward. It was the loveli- 
est hour of a fine day, the clear early evening, with the 
glow of the sunset in the air and a purple colour on 
the deep. It was always present to me that so the 
waters ploughed by the Homeric heroes must have 
looked. I became conscious on this particular occa- 
sion moreover that Grace Mavis would for the rest of 
the voyage be the most visible thing in one's range, the 
figure that would count most in the composition of 

215 



THE PATAGONIA 

groups. She could n't help it, poor girl ; nature had 
made her conspicuous important, as the painters 
say. She paid for it by the corresponding exposure, 
the danger that people would, as I had said to Mrs. 
Peck, enter into her affairs. 

Jasper Nettlepoint went down at certain times to 
see his mother, and I watched for one of these occa- 
sions on the third day out and took advantage 
of it to go and sit by Miss Mavis. She wore a light 
blue veil drawn tightly over her face, so that if the 
smile with which she greeted me rather lacked intens- 
ity I could account for it partly by that. 

"Well, we 're getting on we 're getting on," I said 
cheerfully, looking at the friendly twinkling sea. 

"Are we going very fast ? " 

"Not fast, but steadily. Obne Hast, ohne Rast 
do you know German ? " 

"Well, I've studied it some." 

"It will be useful to you over there when you 
travel." 

"Well yes, if we do. But I don't suppose we shall 
much. Mr. Nettlepoint says we ought," my young 
woman added in a moment. 

"Ah of course he thinks so. He has been all over 
the world." 

"Yes, he has described some of the places. They 
must be wonderful. I did n't know I should like it so 
much." 

"But it isn't 'Europe* yet!" I laughed. 

Well, she did n't care if it was n't. "I mean going 
on this way. I could go on for ever for ever and 



ever." 



216 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Ah you know it 9 s not always like this/ 5 1 hastened 
to mention. 

"Well, it's better than Boston/' 

" It is n't so good as Paris," I still more portentously 
noted. 

"Oh I know all about Paris. There's no fresh- 
ness in that. I feel as if I had been there all the 
time." 

"You mean you've heard so much of it ?" 

"Oh yes, nothing else for ten years." 

I had come to talk with Miss Mavis because she 
was attractive, but I had been rather conscious of the 
absence of a good topic, not feeling at liberty to revert 
to Mr. Porterfield. She had n't encouraged me, when 
I spoke to her as we were leaving Boston, to go on 
with the history of my acquaintance with this gentle- 
man; and yet now, unexpectedly, she appeared to 
imply it was doubtless one of the disparities men- 
tioned by Mrs. Nettlepoint that he might be 
glanced at without indelicacy. 

" I see you mean by letters," I remarked. 

"We won't live in a good part. I know enough to 
know that," she went on. 

"Well, it is n't as if there were any very bad ones," 
I answered reassuringly. 

"Why Mr. Nettlepoint says it's regular mean." 

"And to what does he apply that expression ?" 

She eyed me a moment as if I were elegant at her 
expense, but she answered my question. "Up there 
in the Batignolles. I seem to make out it's worse 
than Merrimac Avenue." 

"Worse in what way ? " 
217 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Why, even less where the nice people live." 

"He ought n't to say that," I returned. And I vent- 
ured to back it up. "Don't you call Mr. Porterfield 
a nice person ? " 

"Oh it does n't make any difference." She watched 
me again a moment through her veil, the texture of 
which gave her look a suffused prettiness. "Do you 
know him very little ? " she asked. 

"Mr. Porterfield?" 

"No, Mr. Nettlepoint." 

"Ah very little. He 's very considerably my junior, 
you see." 

She had a fresh pause, as if almost again for my 
elegance; but she went on: "He's younger than me 
too." I don't know what effect of the comic there 
could have been in it, but the turn was unexpected 
and it made me laugh. Neither do I know whether 
Miss Mavis took offence at my sensibility on this 
head, though I remember thinking at the moment 
with compunction that it had brought a flush to her 
cheek. At all events she got up, gathering her 
shawl and her books into her arm. " I 'm going down 
I'm tired." 

"Tired of me, 1 5 m afraid." 

"No, not yet." 

"I'm like you," I confessed. "I should like it to 
go on and on." 

She had begun to walk along the deck to the 
companionway and I went with her. "Well, I guess 
/ would n't, after all ! " 

I had taken her shawl from her to carry it, but at 
the top of the steps that led down to the cabins I had 

218 



THE PATAGONIA 

to give it back. "Your mother would be glad if she 
could know," I observed as we parted. 

But she was proof against my graces. " If she could 
know what ? " 

"How well you 're getting on." I refused to be dis- 
couraged. "And that good Mrs. Allen." 

"Oh mother, mother! She made me come, she 
pushed me off." And almost as if not to say more 
she went quickly below. 

I paid Mrs. Nettlepoint a morning visit after lunch- 
eon and another in the evening, before she "turned 
in." That same day, in the evening, she said to me 
suddenly: "Do you know what I've done? I've 
asked Jasper." 

"Asked him what?" 

"Why, if she asked him, you understand." 

I wondered. "Do I understand ?" 

" If you don't it 's because you * regular ' won't, as 
she says. If that girl really asked him on the bal- 
cony to sail with us." 

"My dear lady, do you suppose that if she did he'd 
tell you?" 

She had to recognise my acuteness. "That's just 
what he says. But he says she did n't." 

"And do you consider the statement valuable?" 
I asked, laughing out. "You had better ask your 
young friend herself." 

Mrs. Nettlepoint stared. " I could n't do that." 

On which I was the more amused that I had to ex- 
plain I was only amused. " What does it signify now ? " 

"I thought you thought everything signified. You 
were so full," she cried, "of signification!" 

219 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Yes, but we're further out now, and somehow in 
mid-ocean everything becomes absolute." 

"What else can he do with decency ? " Mrs. Nettle- 
point went on. "If, as my son, he were never to 
speak to her it would be very rude and you 'd think 
that stranger still. Then you would do what he does, 
and where would be the difference ? " 

" How do you know what he does ? I have n't men- 
tioned him for twenty-four hours." 

"Why, she told me herself. She came in this after- 



noon." 



"What an odd thing to tell you!" I commented. 

" Not as she says it. She says he 's full of attention, 
perfectly devoted looks after her all the time. She 
seems to want me to know it, so that I may approve 
him for it." 

"That's charming; it shows her good conscience." 

"Yes, or her great cleverness." 

Something in the tone in which Mrs. Nettlepoint 
said this caused me to return in real surprise: "Why 
what do you suppose she has in her mind ? " 

"To get hold of him, to make him go so far he can't 
retreat. To marry him perhaps." 

"To marry him ? And what will she do with Mr. 
Porterfield?" 

"She'll ask me just to make it all right to him 
or perhaps you." 

"Yes, as an old friend!" and for a moment I 
felt it awkwardly possible. But I put to her seriously : 
"Do you see Jasper caught like that?" 

"Well, he's only a boy he's younger at least 
than she." 

220 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Precisely; she regards him as a child. She re- 
marked to me herself to-day, that is, that he 's so much 
younger." 

Mrs. Nettlepoint took this in. "Does she talk of 
it with you ? That shows she has a plan, that she has 
thought it over ! " 

I 've sufficiently expressed for the interest of my 
anecdote that I found an oddity in one of our 
young companions, but I was far from judging her 
capable of laying a trap for the other. Moreover my 
reading of Jasper was n't in the least that he was 
catchable could be made to do a thing if he did n't 
want to do it. Of course it was n't impossible that he 
might be inclined, that he might take it or already 
have taken it into his head to go further with his 
mother's charge ; but to believe this I should require 
still more proof than his always being with her. He 
wanted at most to "take up with her " for the voyage. 
" If you 've questioned him perhaps you 've tried to 
make him feel responsible," I said to my fellow 
critic. 

"A little, but it 's very difficult. Interference makes 
him perverse. One has to go gently. Besides, it 's too 
absurd think of her age. If she can't take care of 
herself!" cried Mrs. Nettlepoint. 

"Yes, let us keep thinking of her age, though it's 
not so prodigious. And if things get very bad you 've 
one resource left," I added. 

She wondered. "To lock her up in her 
cabin?" 

"No to come out of yours." 

"Ah never, never ! If it takes that to save her she 
221 



THE PATAGONIA 

must be lost. Besides, what good would it do ? If I 
were to go above she could come below." 

"Yes, but you could keep Jasper with you." 

"Could I?" Mrs. Nettlepoint demanded in the 
manner of a woman who knew her son. 

In the saloon the next day, after dinner, over the 
red cloth of the tables, beneath the swinging lamps 
and the racks of tumblers, decanters and wine-glasses, 
we sat down to whist, Mrs. Peck, to oblige, taking a 
hand in the game. She played very badly and talked 
too much, and when the rubber was over assuaged 
her discomfiture (though not mine we had been 
partners) with a Welsh rabbit and a tumbler of some- 
thing hot. We had done with the cards, but while she 
waited for this refreshment she sat with her elbows 
on the table shuffling a pack. 

" She has n't spoken to me yet she won't do it," 
she remarked in a moment. 

"Is it possible there's any one on the ship who 
has n't spoken to you ? " 

"Not that girl she knows too well ! " Mrs. Peck 
looked round our little circle with a smile of intel- 
ligence she had familiar communicative eyes. Sev- 
eral of our company had assembled, according to the 
wont, the last thing in the evening, of those who are 
cheerful at sea, for the consumption of grilled sardines 
and devilled bones. 

"What then does she know?" 

"Oh she knows 7 know." 

"Well, we know what Mrs. Peck knows," one of 
the ladies of the group observed to me with an air 
of privilege. 

222 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Well, you would n't know if I had n't told you 
from the way she acts/ 5 said our friend with a laugh 
of small charm. 

"She's going out to a gentleman who lives over 
there he 's waiting there to marry her," the other 
lady went on, in the tone of authentic information. 
I remember that her name was Mrs. Gotch and that 
her mouth looked always as if she were whistling. 

"Oh he knows I 've told him," said Mrs. Peck. 

"Well, I presume every one knows/' Mrs. Gotch 
contributed. 

"Dear madam, is it every one's business ?" I asked. 

"Why, don't you think it 's a peculiar way to act ?" 
and Mrs. Gotch was evidently surprised at my 
little protest. 

"Why it's right there straight in front of you, 
like a play at the theatre as if you had paid to see 
it/' said Mrs. Peck. "If you don't call it public !" 

"Are n't you mixing things up ? What do you call 
public?" 

"Why the way they go on. They're up there now." 

"They cuddle up there half the night," said Mrs. 
Gotch. "I don't know when they come down. Any 
hour they like. When all the lights are out they're 
up there still." 

"Oh you can't tire them out. They don't want 
relief like the ship's watch!" laughed one of the 
gentlemen. 

"Well, if they enjoy each other's society what *s the 
harm?" another asked. "They'd do just the same 
on land." 

"They would n't do it on the public streets, I pre- 
223 



THE PATAGONIA 

sume," said Mrs. Peck. "And they would n't do it 
if Mr. Porterfield was round ! " 

" Is n't that just where your confusion comes in ?" 
I made answer. " It 's public enough that Miss Mavis 
and Mr. Nettlepoint are always together, but it is n't 
in the least public that she 's going to be married/' 

"Why how can you say when the very sailors 
know it ! The Captain knows it and all the officers 
know it. They see them there, especially at night, 
when they 're sailing the ship." 

" I thought there was some rule ! " submitted 
Mrs. Gotch. 

" Well, there is that you 've got to behave your- 
self," Mrs. Peck explained. "So the Captain told me 
he said they have some rule. He said they have 
to have, when people are too undignified." 

" Is that the term he used ? " I enquired. 

"Well, he may have said when they attract too 
much attention." 

I ventured to discriminate. "It's we who attract 
the attention by talking about what does n't con- 
cern us and about what we really don't know." 

"She said the Captain said he'd tell on her as soon 
as ever we arrive," Mrs. Gotch none the less serenely 
pursued. 

"She said ?" I repeated, bewildered. 

"Well, he did say so, that he'd think it his duty 
to inform Mr. Porterfield when he comes on to meet 
her if they keep it up in the same way," said Mrs. 
Peck. 

"Oh they'll keep it up, don't you fear ! " one of the 
gentlemen exclaimed. 

224 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Dear madam, the Captain's having his joke on 
you," was, however, my own congruous reply. 

"No, he ain't he's right down scandalised. He 
says he regards us all as a real family and wants the 
family not to be downright coarse." I felt Mrs. Peck 
irritated by my controversial tone : she challenged me 
with considerable spirit. "How can you say I don't 
know it when all the street knows it and has known 
it for years for years and years ?" She spoke as if 
the girl had been engaged at least for twenty. "What 9 s 
she going out for if not to marry him ? " 

"Perhaps she's going to see how he looks," sug- 
gested one of the gentlemen. 

"He'd look queer if he knew." 

"Well, I guess he'll know," said Mrs. Gotch. 

"She 'd tell him herself she would n't be afraid," 
the gentleman went on. 

"Well she might as well kill him. He *11 jump over- 
board," Mrs. Peck could foretell. 

"Jump overboard?" cried Mrs. Gotch as if she 
hoped then that Mr. Porterfield would be told. 

"He has just been waiting for this for long, long 
years," said Mrs. Peck. 

"Do you happen to know him ?" I asked. 

She replied at her convenience. "No, but I know a 
lady who does. Are you going up ? " 

I had risen from my place I had not ordered sup- 
per. "I 'm going to take a turn before going to bed." 

"Well then you '11 see!" 

Outside the saloon I hesitated, for Mrs. Peck's ad- 
monition made me feel for a moment that if I went up 
I should have entered in a manner into her little con- 

225 



THE PATAGONIA 

spiracy. But the night was so warm and splendid that 
I had been intending to smoke a cigar in the air before 
going below, and I did n't see why I should deprive 
myself of this pleasure in order to seem not to mind 
Mrs. Peck. I mounted accordingly and saw a few 
figures sitting or moving about in the darkness. The 
ocean looked black and small, as it is apt to do at 
night, and the long mass of the ship, with its vague 
dim wings, seemed to take up a great part of it. There 
were more stars than one saw on land and the heavens 
struck one more than ever as larger than the earth. 
Grace Mavis and her companion were not, so far as I 
perceived at first, among the few passengers who 
lingered late, and I was glad, because I hated to hear 
her talked about in the manner of the gossips I had 
left at supper. I wished there had been some way to 
prevent it, but I could think of none but to recommend 
her privately to reconsider her rule of discretion. That 
would be a very delicate business, and perhaps it 
would be better to begin with Jasper, though that 
would be delicate too. At any rate one might let him 
know, in a friendly spirit, to how much remark he ex- 
posed the young lady leaving this revelation to 
work its way upon him. Unfortunately I could n't al- 
together believe that the pair were unconscious of the 
observation and the opinion of the passengers. They 
were n't boy and girl; they had a certain social per- 
spective in their eye. I was meanwhile at any rate in 
no possession of the details of that behaviour which 
had made them according to the version of my 
good friends in the saloon a scandal to the ship ; for 
though I had taken due note of them, as will already 

226 



THE PATAGONIA 

have been gathered, I had taken really no such fero- 
cious, or at least such competent, note as Mrs. Peck. 
Nevertheless the probability was that they knew what 
was thought of them what naturally would be 
and simply did n't care. That made our heroine out 
rather perverse and even rather shameless; and yet 
somehow if these were her leanings I did n't dislike her 
for them. I don't know what strange secret excuses I 
found for her. I presently indeed encountered, on the 
spot, a need for any I might have at call, since, just as I 
was on the point of going below again, after several 
restless turns and within the limit where smoking 
was allowed as many puffs at a cigar as I cared for, 
I became aware of a couple of figures settled together 
behind one of the lifeboats that rested on the deck. 
They were so placed as to be visible only to a person 
going close to the rail and peering a little sidewise. I 
don't think I peered, but as I stood a moment beside 
the rail my eye was attracted by a dusky object that 
protruded beyond the boat and that I saw at a sec- 
ond glance to be the tail of a lady's dress. I bent for- 
ward an instant, but even then I saw very little more ; 
that scarcely mattered however, as I easily concluded 
that the persons tucked away in so snug a corner were 
Jasper Nettlepoint and Mr. Porterfi eld's intended. 
Tucked away was the odious right expression, and I 
deplored the fact so betrayed for the pitiful bad taste in 
it. I immediately turned away, and the next moment 
found myself face to face with our vessel's skipper. 
I had already had some conversation with him he 
had been so good as to invite me, as he had invited 
Mrs. Nettlepoint and her son and the young lady 

227 



THE PATAGONIA 

travelling with them, and also Mrs. Peck, to sit at his 
table and had observed with pleasure that his sea- 
manship had the grace, not universal on the Atlantic 
liners, of a fine-weather manner. 

"They don't waste much time your friends in 
there/* he said, nodding in the direction in which he 
had seen me looking. 
"Ah well, they have n't much to lose." 
"That's what I mean. I'm told she has n't." 
I wanted to say something exculpatory, but scarcely 
knew what note to strike. I could only look vaguely 
about me at the starry darkness and the sea that 
seemed to sleep. "Well, with these splendid nights 
and this perfect air people are beguiled into late 
hours." 

"Yes, we want a bit of a blow," the Captain said. 
I demurred. "How much of one?" 
"Enough to clear the decks!" 
He was after all rather dry and he went about his 
business. He had made me uneasy, and instead of 
going below I took a few turns more. The other walk- 
ers dropped off pair by pair they were all men 
till at last I was alone. Then after a little I quitted the 
field. Jasper and his companion were still behind their 
lifeboat. Personally I greatly preferred our actual 
conditions, but as I went down I found myself vaguely 
wishing, in the interest of I scarcely knew what, unless 
it had been a mere superstitious delicacy, that we 
might have half a gale. 

Miss Mavis turned out, in sea-phrase, early; for the 
next morning I saw her come up only a short time 
after I had finished my breakfast, a ceremony over 

228 



IJtllL JfAlAUUiNJLA 

which I contrived not to dawdle. She was alone and 
Jasper Nettlepoint, by a rare accident, was not on 
deck to help her. I went to meet her she was en- 
cumbered as usual with her shawl, her sun-umbrella 
and a book and laid my hands on her chair, placing 
it near the stern of the ship, where she liked best to be. 
But I proposed to her to walk a little before she sat 
down, and she took my arm after I had put her access- 
ories into the chair. The deck was clear at that hour 
and the morning light gay; one had an extravagant 
sense of good omens and propitious airs. I forget what 
we spoke of first, but it was because I felt these things 
pleasantly, and not to torment my companion nor to 
test her, that I could n't help exclaiming cheerfully 
after a moment, as I have mentioned having done the 
first day : " Well, we 're getting on, we *re getting on ! " 

"Oh yes, I count every hour." 

"The last days always go quicker/* I said, "and the 
last hours ! " 

"Well, the last hours?" she asked; for I had in- 
stinctively checked myself. 

" Oh one 5 s so glad then that it 5 s almost the same as 
if one had arrived. Yet we ought to be grateful when 
the elements have been so kind to us," I added. "I 
hope you *11 have enjoyed the voyage." 

She hesitated ever so little. "Yes, much more than I 
expected." 

"Did you think it would be very bad ?" 

"Horrible, horrible!" 

The tone of these words was strange, but I had n't 
much time to reflect upon it, for turning round at that 
moment I saw Jasper Nettlepoint come toward us. 

229 



THE PATAGONIA 

He was still distant by the expanse of the white deck, 
and I could n't help taking him in from head to foot as 
he drew nearer. I don't know what rendered me on 
this occasion particularly sensitive to the impression, 
but it struck me that I saw him as I had never seen 
him before, saw him, thanks to the intense sea-light, 
inside and out, in his personal, his moral totality. It 
was a quick, a vivid revelation; if it only lasted a mo- 
ment it had a simplifying certifying effect. He was 
intrinsically a pleasing apparition, with his handsome 
young face and that marked absence of any drop in 
his personal arrangements which, more than any one 
I *ve ever seen, he managed to exhibit on shipboard. 
He had none of the appearance of wearing out old 
clothes that usually prevails there, but dressed quite 
straight, as I heard some one say. This gave him an 
assured, almost a triumphant air, as of a young man 
who would come best out of any awkwardness. I ex- 
pected to feel my companion's hand loosen itself on 
my arm, as an indication that now she must go to him, 
and I was almost surprised she did n't drop me. We 
stopped as we met and Jasper bade us a friendly good- 
morning. Of course the remark that we had another 
lovely day was already indicated, and it led him to ex- 
claim, in the manner of one to whom criticism came 
easily, "Yes, but with this sort of thing consider what 
one of the others would do ! " 

"One of the other ships ?" 

"We should be there now, or at any rate to-mor- 



row." 



"Well then I 'm glad it is n't one of the others " 
and I smiled at the young lady on my arm. My words 

230 



THE PATAGONIA 

offered her a chance to say something appreciative, 
and gave him one even more; but neither Jasper nor 
Grace Mavis took advantage of the occasion. What 
they did do, I noticed, was to look at each other rather 
fixedly an instant; after which she turned her eyes 
silently to the sea. She made no movement and ut- 
tered no sound, contriving to give me the sense that 
she had all at once become perfectly passive, that she 
somehow declined responsibility. We remained stand- 
ing there with Jvt-per in front of us, and if the contact 
of her arm did n't suggest I should give her up, neither 
did it intimate that we had better pass on. I had no 
idea of giving her up, albeit one of the things I seemed 
to read just then into Jasper's countenance was a fine 
implication that she was his property. His eyes met 
mine for a moment, and it was exactly as if he had said 
to me " I know what you think, but I don't care a rap." 
What I really thought was that he was selfish beyond 
the limits : that was the substance of my little revela- 
tion. Youth is almost always selfish, just as it is 
almost always conceited, and, after all, when it *s com- 
bined with health and good parts, good looks and good 
spirits, it has a right to be, and I easily forgive it if it be 
really youth. Still it's a question of degree, and what 
stuck out of Jasper Nettlepoint if, of course, one 
had the intelligence for it was that his egotism had 
a hardness, his love of his own way an avidity. These 
elements were jaunty and prosperous, they were accus- 
tomed to prevail. He was fond, very fond, of women; 
they were necessary to him that was in his type; 
but he was n't in the least in love with Grace Mavis. 
Among the reflexions I quickly made this was the one 

231 



THE PATAGONIA 

that was most to the point. There was a degree of 
awkwardness, after a minute, in the way we were 
planted there, though the apprehension of it was 
doubtless not in the least with himself. To dissimu- 
late my own share in it, at any rate, I asked him how 
his mother might be. 

His answer was unexpected. "You had better go 
down and see." 

"Not till Miss Mavis is tired of me." 
She said nothing to this and I made her walk again. 
For some minutes she failed to speak; then, rather 
abruptly, she began : " I Ve seen you talking to that 
lady who sits at our table the one who has so many 
children." 

" Mrs. Peck ? Oh yes, one has inevitably talked with 
Mrs. Peck." 

"Do you know her very well ?" 
"Only as one knows people at sea. An acquaint- 
ance makes itself. It does n't mean very much." 

"She doesn't speak to me she might if she 
wanted." 

"That's just what she says of you that you 
might speak to her." 

"Oh if she's waiting for that !" said my com- 
panion with a laugh. Then she added : "She lives in 
our street, nearly opposite." 

"Precisely. That's the reason why she thinks you 
coy or haughty. She has seen you so often and seems 
to know so much about you." 
"What does she know about me?" 
"Ah you must ask her I can't tell you !" 
" I don't care what she knows/' said my young lady. 
232 



THE PATAGONIA 

After a moment she went on : " She must have seen I 
ain't very sociable." And then, "What are you laugh- 
ing at?" she asked. 

"Well" my amusement was difficult to explain 
"you're not very sociable, and yet somehow you 
are. Mrs. Peck is, at any rate, and thought that ought 
to make it easy for you to enter into conversation with 
her." 

"Oh I don't care for her conversation I know 
what it amounts to." I made no reply I scarcely 
knew what reply to make and the girl went on : 
"I know what she thinks and I know what she 
says." Still I was silent, but the next moment I saw 
my discretion had been wasted, for Miss Mavis put to 
me straight : "Does she make out that she knows Mr. 
Porterfield?" 

"No, she only claims she knows a lady who knows 
him." 

" Yes, that *s it Mrs. Jeremie. Mrs. Jeremie 's an 
idiot ! " I was n't in a position to controvert this, and 
presently my young lady said she would sit down. I left 
her in her chair I saw that she preferred it and 
wandered to a distance. A few minutes later I met 
Jasper again, and he stopped of his own accord to say : 
"We shall be in about six in the evening of our 
eleventh day they promise it." 

"If nothing happens, of course." 

"Well, what's going to happen?" 

"That 's just what I 'm wondering ! " And I turned 
away and went below with the foolish but innocent 
satisfaction of thinking I had mystified him. 



IV 

"I DON'T know what to do, and you must help me," 
Mrs. Xettlepofnt said to me, that evening, as soon as 
I looked in. 

"I'll do what I can but what's the matter ?" 
"She has been crying here and going on she has 
quite upset me." 

"Crying ? She does n't look like that." 
" Exactly, and that 's what startled me. She came 
in to see me this afternoon, as she has done before, 
and we talked of the weather and the run of the ship 
and the manners of the stewardess and other such 
trifles, and then suddenly, in the midst of it, as she 
sat there, on no visible pretext, she burst into tears. 
I asked her what ailed her and tried to comfort her, 
but she did n't explain; she said it was nothing, the 
effect of the sea, of the monotony, of the excitement, 
of leaving home. I asked her if it had anything to do 
with her prospects, with her marriage; whether she 
finds as this draws near that her heart is n't in it. 
I told her she must n't be nervous, that I could enter 
into that in short I said what I could. All she 
replied was that she is nervous, very nervous, but 
that it was already over; and then she jumped up and 
kissed me and went away. Does she look as if she 
has been crying ? " Mrs. Nettlepoint wound up. 

"How can I tell, when she never quits that horrid 
veil ? It *s as if she were ashamed to show her face." 

234 



THE PATAGONIA 

"She's keeping it for Liverpool. But I don't like 
such incidents," said Mrs. Nettlepoint. "I think I 
ought to go above/' 

"And is that where you want me to help you ?" 

"Oh with your arm and that sort of thing, yes. But 
I may have to look to you for something more. I feel 
as if something were going to happen." 

"That 's exactly what I said to Jasper this morning." 

"And what did he say?" 

"He only looked innocent as if he thought I 
meant a fog or a storm," 

" Heaven forbid it is n't that ! I shall never be 
good-natured again," Mrs. Nettlepoint went on; 
"never have a girl put on me that way. You always 
pay for it there are always tiresome complications. 
What I 'm afraid of is after we get there. She '11 throw 
up her engagement; there will be dreadful scenes; I 
shall be mixed up with them and have to look after 
her and keep her with me. I shall have to stay there 
with her till she can be sent back, or even take her up 
to London. Do you see all that ? " 

I listened respectfully; after which I observed: 
"You're afraid of your son." 

She also had a pause. "It depends on how you 



mean it." 



"There are things you might say to him and 
with your manner; because you have one, you know, 
when you choose." 

"Very likely, but what's my manner to his ? Be- 
sides, I have said everything to him. That is I 've said 
the great thing that he's making her immensely 
talked about." 

235 



THE PATAGONIA 

"And of course in answer to that he has asked you 
how you know, and you 've told him you have it from 
me."' 

" I 've had to tell him ; and he says it 9 s none of your 
business." 

"I wish he'd say that," I remarked, "to my face." 

"He'll do so perfectly if you give him a chance. 

That 's where you can help me. Quarrel with him 

he's rather good at a quarrel; and that will divert 

him and draw him off." 

"Then Pm ready," I returned, "to discuss the 
matter with him for the rest of the voyage." 

"Very well; I count on you. But he'll ask you, as 
he asks me, what the deuce you want him to do." 
"To go to bed!" and I'm afraid I laughed. 
"Oh it is n't a joke." 

I did n't want to be irritating, but I made my point. 
"That's exactly what I told you at first." 

"Yes, but don't exult; I hate people who exult. 
Jasper asks of me," she went on, "why he should 
mind her being talked about if she does n't mind it 
herself." 

"I '11 tell him why," I replied; and Mrs. Nettlepoint 
said she should be exceedingly obliged to me and 
repeated that she would indeed take the field. 

I looked for Jasper above that same evening, but 
circumstances did n't favour my quest. I found him 
that is I gathered he was again ensconced behind 
the lifeboat with Miss Mavis ; but there was a needless 
violence in breaking into their communion, and I put 
off our interview till the next day. Then I took the 
first opportunity, at breakfast, to make sure of it. He 

236 



THE PATAGONIA 

was in the saloon when I went in and was preparing 
to leave the table; but I stopped him and asked if he 
would give me a quarter of an hour on deck a little 
later there was something particular I wanted to 
say to him. He said "Oh yes, if you like" with 
just a visible surprise, but I thought with plenty of 
assurance. When I had finished my breakfast I found 
him smoking on the forward-deck and I immediately 
began : " I 'm going to say something you won't at all 
like ; to ask you a question you 'II probably denounce 
for impertinent." 

" I certainly shall if I find it so," said Jasper Nettle- 
point. 

"Well, of course my warning has meant that I don't 
care if you do. I 'm a good deal older than you and 
I'm a friend of many years of your mother. 
There 's nothing I like less than to be meddlesome, 
but I think these things give me a certain right a 
sort of privilege. Besides which my enquiry will speak 
for itself." 

"Why so many damned preliminaries ?" my young 
man asked through his smoke. 

We looked into each other's eyes a moment. What 
indeed was his mother's manner her best manner 
compared with his? "Are you prepared to be 
responsible ? " 

"To you?" 

" Dear no to the young lady herself. I 'm speak- 
ing of course of Miss Mavis." 

"Ah yes, my mother tells me you have her greatly 
on your mind." 

"So has your mother herself now." 

237 



THE PATAGONIA 

"She's so good as to say so to oblige you." 

"She'd oblige me a great deal more by reassuring 
me. I know perfectly of your knowing I 've told her 
that Miss Mavis is greatly talked about." 

"Yes, but what on earth does it matter?" 

"It matters as a sign." 

"A sign of what?" 

"That she's in a false position." 

Jasper puffed his cigar with his eyes on the horizon, 
and I had, a little unexpectedly, the sense of produc- 
ing a certain effect on him. "I don't know whether 
it 's your business, what you 're attempting to discuss ; 
but it really strikes me it's none of mine. What have 
I to do with the tattle with which a pack of old women 
console themselves for not being sea-sick ? " 

" Do you call it tattle that Miss Mavis is in love with 
you?" 

"Drivelling." 

"Then," I retorted, "you're very ungrateful. The 
tattle of a pack of old women has this importance, 
that she suspects, or she knows, it exists, and that 
decent girls are for the most part very sensitive to that 
sort of thing. To be prepared not to heed it in this 
case she must have a reason, and the reason must be 
the one I Ve taken the liberty to call your attention 
to." 

"In love with me in six days, just like that?" 
and he still looked away through narrowed eyelids. 

"There's no accounting for tastes, and six days at 
sea are equivalent to sixty on land. I don't want to 
make you too proud. Of course if you recognise your 
responsibility it 's all right and I 've nothing to say." 

238 



IJtiJL 

" I don't see what you mean/' he presently returned. 

"Surely you ought to have thought of that by this 
time. She 's engaged to be married, and the gentleman 
she's engaged to is to meet her at Liverpool. The 
whole ship knows it though / did n't tell them ! 
and the whole ship's watching her. It's impertinent 
if you like, just as I am myself, but we make a little 
world here together and we can't blink its conditions. 
What I ask you is whether you *re prepared to allow 
her to give up the gentleman I 've just mentioned for 
your sake." 

Jasper spoke in a moment as if he did n't under- 
stand. " For my sake ? " 

"To marry her if she breaks with him/* 

He turned his eyes from the horizon to my own, 
and I found a strange expression in them. " Has Miss 
Mavis commissioned you to go into that ? " 

"Not in the least." 

"Well then, I don't quite see !" 

" It is n't as from another I make it. Let it come 
from yourself to yourself/' 

" Lord, you must think I lead myself a life ! " he 
cried as in compassion for my simplicity. "That's 
a question the young lady may put to me any moment 
it pleases her." 

"Let me then express the hope that she will. But 
what will you answer ? " 

"My dear sir, it seems to me that in spite of all the 
titles you 've enumerated you 've no reason to expect 
I '11 tell you." He turned away, and I dedicated in 
perfect sincerity a deep sore sigh to the thought of our 
young woman. At this, under the impression of it, 

239 



THE PATAGONIA 

he faced me again and, looking at me from head 
to foot, demanded: "What is it you want me to 
do?" 

** I put it to your mother that you ought to go to 
bed " 

"You had better do that yourself!" he replied. 

This time he walked off, and I reflected rather dole- 
fully that the only clear result of my undertaking 
would probably have been to make it vivid to him 
that she was in love with him. Mrs. Nettlepoint came 
up as she had announced, but the day was half over : 
it was nearly three o'clock. She was accompanied by 
her son, who established her on deck, arranged her 
chair and her shawls, saw she was protected from sun 
and wind, and for an hour was very properly attentive. 
While this went on Grace Mavis was not visible, nor 
did she reappear during the whole afternoon. I had 
n't observed that she had as yet been absent from the 
deck for so long a period. Jasper left his mother, but 
came back at intervals to see how she got on, and when 
she asked where Miss Mavis might be answered that 
he had n't the least idea. I sat with my friend at her 
particular request: she told me she knew that if I 
did n't Mrs. Peck and Mrs. Gotch would make their 
approach, so that I must act as a watch-dog. She was 
flurried and fatigued with her migration, and I think 
that Grace Mavis's choosing this occasion for retire- 
ment suggested to her a little that she had been made 
a fool of. She remarked that the girl's not being there 
showed her for the barbarian she only could be, and 
that she herself was really very good so to have put 
herself out; her charge was a mere bore: that was 

240 



THE PATAGONIA 

the end of it, I could see that my companion's advent 
quickened the speculative activity of the other ladies ; 
they watched her from the opposite side of the deck, 
keeping their eyes fixed on her very much as the man 
at the wheel kept his on the course of the ship. Mrs. 
Peck plainly had designs, and it was from this danger 
that Mrs. Nettlepoint averted her face. 

" It 's just as we said, 5 ' she remarked to me as we 
sat there, " It 's like the buckets in the well. When 
I come up everything else goes down." 

" No, not at all everything else since Jasper re- 
mains here." 

" Remains ? I don't see him." 

" He comes and goes it 's the same thing." 

"He goes more than he comes. But n'en parlons 
plus; I have n't gained anything. I don't admire the 
sea at all what is it but a magnified water-tank ? 
I shan't come up again." 

" I 've an idea she '11 stay in her cabin now," I said. 
"She tells me she has one to herself." Mrs. Nettle- 
point replied that she might do as she liked, and I 
repeated to her the little conversation I had had with 
Jasper. 

She listened with interest, but "Marry her? 
Mercy!" she exclaimed. "I like the fine freedom 
with which you give my son away." 

"You would n't accept that ? " 

"Why in the world should I ?" 

"Then I don't understand your position." 

"Good heavens, I have none! It isn't a position 
to be tired of the whole thing." 

"You would n't accept it even in the case I put to 
241 



THE PATAGONIA 

him that of her believing she had been encouraged 
to throw over poor Porterfield ? " 

" Not even not even. Who can know what she 
believes?" 

It brought me back to where we had started from. 
"Then you do exactly what I said you would you 
show me a fine example of maternal immorality/* 

"Maternal fiddlesticks! It was she who began it." 

"Then why did you come up to-day?" I asked. 

"To keep you quiet." 

Mrs. Nettlepoint's dinner was served on deck, but 
I went into the saloon. Jasper was there, but not 
Grace Mavis, as I had half-expected. I sought to 
learn from him what had become of her, if she were 
ill he must have thought I had an odious pertin- 
acity and he replied that he knew nothing what- 
ever about her. Mrs. Peck talked to me or tried 
to of Mrs. Nettlepoint, expatiating on the great 
interest it had been to see her; only it was a pity she 
did n't seem more sociable. To this I made answer 
that she was to be excused on the score of health. 

"You don't mean to say she's sick on this pond ?" 

"No, she's unwell in another way." 

"I guess I know the way!" Mrs. Peck laughed. 
And then she added : "I suppose she came up to look 
after her pet." 

"Her pet?" I set my face. 

"Why Miss Mavis. We've talked enough about 
that." 

"Quite enough. I don't know what that has had 
to do with it. Miss Mavis, so far as I've noticed, 
has n't been above to-day." 

242 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Oh it goes on all the same." 

"It goes on?" 

"Well, it's too late." 

"Too late?" 

"Well, you'll see. There'll be a row." 

This was n't comforting, but I did n't repeat it on 
deck. Mrs. Nettlepoint returned early to her cabin, 
professing herself infinitely spent. I did n't know 
what "went on," but Grace Mavis continued not to 
show. I looked in late, for a good-night to my friend, 
and learned from her that the girl had n't been to her. 
She had sent the stewardess to her room for news, to 
see if she were ill and needed assistance, and the 
stewardess had come back with mere mention of her 
not being there. I went above after this ; the night was 
not quite so fair and the deck almost empty. In a mo- 
ment Jasper Nettlepoint and our young lady moved 
past me together. "I hope you're better!" I called 
after her; and she tossed me over her shoulder 
"Oh yes, I had a headache; but the air now does 
me good ! " 

I went down again I was the only person there 
but they, and I wanted not to seem to dog their steps 
and, returning to Mrs. Nettlepoint's room, found 
(her door was open to the little passage) that she was 
still sitting up. 

"She's all right!" I said. "She's on the deck with 
Jasper." 

The good lady looked up at me from her book. " I 
did n't know you called that all right." 

"Well, it's better than something else." 

"Than what else?" 

243 



THE PATAGONIA 

"Something I was a little afraid of." Mrs. Nettle- 
point continued to look at me; she asked again what 
that might be. "I'll tell you when we're ashore," I 
said. 

The next day I waited on her at the usual hour of 
my morning visit, and found her not a little dis- 
traught. "The scenes have begun," she said; "you 
know I told you I should n't get through without 
them ! You made me nervous last night I have n't 
the least idea what you meant; but you made me hor- 
ribly nervous. She came in to see me an hour ago, and 
I had the courage to say to her : 'I don't know why I 
should n't tell you frankly that I 've been scolding my 
son about you.' Of course she asked what I meant by 
that, and I let her know. * It seems to me he drags you 
about the ship too much for a girl in your position. 
He has the air of not remembering that you belong to 
some one else. There *s a want of taste and even a 
want of respect in it/ That brought on an outbreak : 
she became very violent/' 
"Do you mean indignant?" 
"Yes, indignant, and above all flustered and ex- 
cited at my presuming to suppose her relations with 
my son not the very simplest in the world. I might 
scold him as much as I liked that was between our- 
selves; but she did n't see why I should mention such 
matters to herself. Did I think she allowed him to 
treat her with disrespect ? That idea was n't much of 
a compliment to either of them ! He had treated her 
better and been kinder to her than most other people 
there were very few on the ship who had n't been 
insulting. She should be glad enough when she got off 

244 



THE PATAGONIA 

it, to her own people, to some one whom nobody 
would have a right to speak of. What was there in her 
position that was n't perfectly natural ? what was the 
idea of making a fuss about her position ? Did I mean 
that she took it too easily that she did n't think as 
much as she ought about Mr. Porterfield ? Did n't I 
believe she was attached to him did n't I believe 
she was just counting the hours till she saw him ? 
That would be the happiest moment of her life. It 
showed how little I knew her if I thought anything 
else." 

"All that must have been rather fine I should 
have liked to hear it/' I said after quite hanging on 
my friend's lips. "And what did you reply ?" 

"Oh I grovelled ; I assured her that I accused her 
as regards my son of nothing worse than an excess 
of good nature. She helped him to pass his time he 
ought to be immensely obliged. Also that it would be 
a very happy moment for me too when I should hand 
her over to Mr. Porterfield." 

"And will you come up to-day ?" 

"No indeed I think she'll do beautifully now." 

I heaved this time a sigh of relief. "All *s well that 
ends well!" 

Jasper spent that day a great deal of time with his 
mother. She had told me how much she had lacked 
hitherto proper opportunity to talk over with him their 
movements after disembarking. Everything changes a 
little the last two or three days of a voyage; the spell 
is broken and new combinations take place. Grace 
Mavis was neither on deck nor at dinner, and I drew 
Mrs. Peck's attention to the extreme propriety with 



THE PATAGONIA 

which she now conducted herself. She had spent the 
day in meditation and judged it best to continue to 
meditate 

"Ah she's afraid/' said my implacable neigh- 
bour. 

"Afraid of what ?" 

"Well, that we'll tell tales when we get there/' 

" Whom do you mean by 'we' ?" 

"Well, there are plenty on a ship like this/' 

"Then I think," I returned, "we won't." 

"Maybe we won't have the chance," said the 
dreadful little woman. 

"Oh at that moment" I spoke from a full ex- 
perience "universal geniality reigns." 

Mrs. Peck however knew little of any such law. 
"I guess she's afraid all the same." 

"So much the better!" 

"Yes so much the better ! " 

All the next day too the girl remained invisible, and 
Mrs. Nettlepoint told me she had n't looked in. She 
herself had accordingly enquired by the stewardess if 
she might be received in Miss Mavis's own quarters, 
and the young lady had replied that they were littered 
up with things and unfit for visitors : she was packing 
a trunk over. Jasper made up for his devotion to his 
mother the day before by now spending a great deal of 
his time in the smoking-room. I wanted to say to him 
"This is much better," but I thought it wiser to hold 
my tongue. Indeed I had begun to feel the emotion 
of prospective arrival the sense of the return to 
Europe always kept its intensity and had thereby 
the less attention for other matters. It will doubtless 

246 



THE PATAGONIA 

appear to the critical reader that my expenditure of 
interest had been out of proportion to the vulgar ap- 
pearances of which my story gives an account, but to 
this I can only reply that the event was to justify me. 
We sighted land, the dim yet rich coast of Ireland, 
about sunset, and I leaned on the bulwark and took 
it in. " It does n't look like much, does it ? " I heard a 
voice say, beside me; whereupon, turning, I found 
Grace Mavis at hand. Almost for the first time she 
had her veil up, and I thought her very pale. 

" It will be more to-morrow," I said. 

"Oh yes, a great deal more." 

"The first sight of land, at sea, changes every- 
thing," I went on. " It always affects me as waking up 
from a dream. It's a return to reality." 

For a moment she made me no response; then she 
said "It does n't look very real yet." 

"No, and meanwhile, this lovely evening, one can 
put it that the dream 9 s still present." 

She looked up at the sky, which had a brightness, 
though the light of the sun had left it and that of the 
stars had n't begun. "It is a lovely evening." 

"Oh yes, with this we shall do." 

She stood some moments more, while the growing 
dusk effaced the line of the land more rapidly than 
our progress made it distinct. She said nothing more, 
she only looked in front of her; but her very quietness 
prompted me to something suggestive of sympathy 
and service. It was difficult indeed to strike the right 
note some things seemed too wide of the mark and 
others too importunate. At last, unexpectedly, she 
appeared to give me my chance. Irrelevantly, ab- 

247 



THE PATAGONIA 

ruptly she broke out: "Did n't you tell me you knew 
Mr. Porterfield?" 

"Dear me, yes I used to see him. I've often 
wanted to speak to you of him." 

She turned her face on me and in the deepened 
evening I imagined her more pale. "What good 
would that do?" 

"Why it would be a pleasure," I replied rather 
foolishly. 

" Do you mean for you ? " 
"Well, yes call it that," I smiled. 
"Did you know him so well ?" 
My smile became a laugh and I lost a little my con- 
fidence. "You 're not easy to make speeches to." 

"I hate speeches ! " The words came from her lips 
with a force that surprised me; they were loud and 
hard. But before I had time to wonder she went on a 
little differently. "Shall you know him when you see 
him?" 

"Perfectly, I think." Her manner was so strange 
that I had to notice it in some way, and I judged the 
best way was jocularly; so I added : "Shan't you ? " 

"Oh perhaps you'll point him out!" And she 
walked quickly away. As I looked after her there came 
to me a perverse, rather a provoking consciousness 
of having during the previous days, and especially in 
speaking to Jasper Nettlepoint, interfered with her 
situation in some degree to her loss. There was an odd 
pang for me in seeing her move about alone; I felt 
somehow responsible for it and asked myself why I 
could n't have kept my hands off. I had seen Jasper 
in the smoking-room more than once that day, as I 

248 



THE PATAGONIA 

passed it, and half an hour before this had observed, 
through the open door, that he was there. He had 
been with her so much that without him she now 
struck one as bereaved and forsaken. This was really 
better, no doubt, but superficially it moved and I 
admit with the last inconsequence one's pity. 
Mrs. Peck would doubtless have assured me that their 
separation was gammon : they did n't show together 
on deck and in the saloon, but they made it up else- 
where. The secret places on shipboard are not numer- 
ous; Mrs. Peck's "elsewhere" would have been 
vague, and I know not what licence her imagination 
took. It was distinct that Jasper had fallen off, but of 
course what had passed between them on this score 
was n't so and could never be. Later on, through his 
mother, I had bis version of that, but I may remark 
that I gave it no credit. Poor Mrs. Nettlepoint, on the 
other hand, was of course to give it all. I was almost 
capable, after the girl had left me, of going to my 
young man and saying: "After all r do return to her a 
little, just rill we get in ! It won't make any difference 
after we land." And I don't think it was the fear he 
would tell me I was an idiot that prevented me. At 
any rate the next time I passed the door of the smok- 
ing-room I saw he had left it. I paid my usual visit to 
Mrs. Nettlepoint that night, but I troubled her no 
further about Miss Mavis. She had made up her mind 
that everything was smooth and settled now, and it 
seemed to me I had worried her, and that she had wor- 
ried herself, in sufficiency. I left her to enjoy the deep- 
ening foretaste of arrival, which had taken possession 
of her mind. Before turning in I went above and 

249 



THE PATAGONIA 

found more passengers on deck than I had ever seen 
so late. Jasper moved about among them alone, but I 
forbore to join him. The coast of Ireland had disap- 
peared, but the night and the sea were perfect. On the 
way to my cabin, when I came down, I met the stew- 
ardess in one of the passages, and the idea entered my 
head to say to her : " Do you happen to know where 
Miss Mavis is ? " 

"Why she's in her room, sir, at this hour." 
" Do you suppose I could speak to her ? " It had 
come into my mind to ask her why she had wanted to 
know of me if I should recognise Mr. Porterfield. 

"No sir," said the stewardess; "she has gone to 
bed/' 

"That's all right/' And I followed the young 
lady's excellent example. 

The next morning, while I dressed, the steward of 
my side of the ship came to me as usual to see what I 
wanted. Butthe first thing he said to me was : " Rather 
a bad job, sir a passenger missing." And while I 
took I scarce know what instant chill from it, "A 
lady, sir," he went on "whom I think you knew. 
Poor Miss Mavis, sir/' 

"Missing?" I cried staring at him and horror- 
stricken. 

"She's not on the ship. They can't find her." 
"Then where to God is she ?" 
I recall his queer face. "Well sir, I suppose you 
know that as well as I." 
"Do you mean she has jumped overboard ?" 
"Some time in the night, sir on the quiet. But 
it's beyond every one, the way she escaped notice. 

250 



THE PATAGONIA 

They usually sees "em, sir. It must have been about 
half-past two. Lord, but she was sharp, sir. She 
did n't so much as make a splash. They say she 'ad 
come against her will, sir." 

I had dropped upon my sofa I felt faint. The 
man went on, liking to talk as persons of his class do 
when they have something horrible to tell. She usu- 
ally rang for the stewardess early, but this morning of 
course there had been no ring. The stewardess had 
gone in all the same about eight o'clock and found the 
cabin empty. That was about an hour previous. Her 
things were there in confusion the things she usu- 
ally wore when she went above. The stewardess 
thought she had been a bit odd the night before, but 
had waited a little and then gone back. Miss Mavis 
had n't turned up and she did n't turn up. The 
stewardess began to look for her she had n't been 
seen on deck or in the saloon. Besides, she was n't 
dressed not to show herself; all her clothes were in 
her room. There was another lady, an old lady, Mrs. 
Nettlepoint I would know her that she was 
sometimes with, but the stewardess had been with her 
and knew Miss Mavis hadn't come near her that 
morning. She had spoken to him and they had taken a 
quiet look they had hunted everywhere. A ship's 
a big place, but you did come to the end of it, and 
if a person was n't there why there it was. In short 
an hour had passed and the young lady was not ac- 
counted for : from which I might judge if she ever 
would be. The watch could n't account for her, but no 
doubt the fishes in the sea could poor miserable 
pitiful lady ! The stewardess and he had of course 

251 



THE PATAGONIA 

thought it their duty to speak at once to the Doctor, 
and the Doctor had spoken immediately to the Cap- 
tain. The Captain didn't like it they never did, 
but he 'd try to keep it quiet they always did. 

By the time I succeeded in pulling myself together 
and getting on, after a fashion, the rest of my clothes 
I had learned that Mrs. Nettlepoint would n't yet have 
been told, unless the stewardess had broken it to her 
within the previous few minutes. Her son knew, the 
young gentleman on the other side of the ship he 
had the other steward; my man had seen him come 
out of his cabin and rush above, just before he came 
in to me. He had gone above, my man was sure; he 
had n't gone to the old lady's cabin. I catch again the 
sense of my dreadfully seeing something at that mo- 
ment, catch the wild flash, under the steward's words, 
of Jasper Nettlepoint leaping, with a mad compunc- 
tion in his young agility, over the side of the ship. 
I hasten to add, however, that no such incident was 
destined to contribute its horror to poor Grace Mavis's 
unwitnessed and unlighted tragic act. What followed 
was miserable enough, but I can only glance at it. 
When I got to Mrs. Nettlepoint 's door she was there 
with a shawl about her; the stewardess had just told 
her and she was dashing out to come to me. I made 
her go back I said I would go for Jasper. I went for 
him but I missed him, partly no doubt because it was 
really at first the Captain I was after. I found this 
personage and found him highly scandalised, but he 
gave me no hope that we were in error, and his dis- 
pleasure, expressed with seamanlike strength, was a 
definite settlement of the question. From the deck, 

252 



THE PATAGONIA 

where I merely turned round and looked, I saw the 
light of another summer day, the coast of Ireland 
green and near and the sea of a more charming colour 
than it had shown at all. When I came below again 
Jasper had passed back; he had gone to his cabin 
and his mother had joined him there. He remained 
there till we reached Liverpool I never saw him. 
His mother, after a little, at his request, left him alone. 
All the world went above to look at the land and chat- 
ter about our tragedy, but the poor lady spent the 
day, dismally enough, in her room. It seemed to me, 
the dreadful day, intolerably long; I was thinking so 
of vague, of inconceivable yet inevitable Porterfield, 
and of my having to face him somehow on the mor- 
row. Now of course I knew why she had asked me if 
I should recognise him ; she had delegated to me men- 
tally a certain pleasant office. I gave Mrs. Peck and 
Mrs. Gotch a wide berth I could n't talk to them. 
I could, or at least I did a little, to Mrs. Nettlepoint, 
but with too many reserves for comfort on either side, 
since I quite felt how little it would now make for ease 
to mention Jasper to her. I was obliged to assume by 
my silence that he had had nothing to do with what 
had happened; and of course I never really ascer- 
tained what he bad had to do. The secret of what 
passed between him and the strange girl who would 
have sacrificed her marriage to him on so short an 
acquaintance remains shut up in his breast. His 
mother, I know, went to his door from time to time, 
but he refused her admission. That evening, to be 
human at a venture, I requested the steward to go in 
and ask him if he should care to see me, and the good 

253 



THE PATAGONIA 

man returned with an answer which he candidly trans- 
mitted. "Not in the least ! " Jasper apparently 
was almost as scandalised as the Captain. 

At Liverpool, at the dock, when we had touched, 
twenty people came on board and I had already made 
out Mr. Porterfield at a distance. He was looking up 
at the side of the great vessel with disappointment 
written for my strained eyes in his face; disap- 
pointment at not seeing the woman he had so long 
awaited lean over it and wave her handkerchief to 
him. Every one was looking at him, every one but she 
his identity flew about in a moment and I won- 
dered if it did n't strike him. He used to be gaunt and 
angular, but had grown almost fat and stooped a 
little. The interval between us diminished he was 
on the plank and then on the deck with the jostling 
agents of the Customs; too soon for my equanimity. 
I met him instantly, however, to save him from ex- 
posure laid my hand on him and drew him away, 
though I was sure he had no impression of having 
seen me before. It was not till afterwards that I 
thought this rather characteristically dull of him. I 
drew him far away I was conscious of Mrs. Peck 
and Mrs. Gotch, looking at us as we passed into 
the empty stale smoking-room: he remained speech- 
less, and that struck me as like him. I had to speak 
first, he could n't even relieve me by saying " Is 
anything the matter ? " I broke ground by putting 
it, feebly, that she was ill. It was a dire moment. 



THE MARRIAGES 



THE MARRIAGES 



"WON'T you stay a little longer I" the hostess asked 
while she held the girl's hand and smiled. "It's too 
early for every one to go it's too absurd." Mrs. 
Churchley inclined her head to one side and looked 
gracious ; she flourished about her face, in a vaguely 
protecting sheltering way, an enormous fan of red 
feathers. Everything in her composition, for Adela 
Chart, was enormous. She had big eyes, big teeth, 
big shoulders, big hands, big rings and bracelets, big 
jewels of every sort and many of them. The train of 
her crimson dress was longer than any other; her 
house was huge; her drawing-room, especially now 
that the company had left it, looked vast, and it 
offered to the girl's eyes a collection of the largest 
sofas and chairs, pictures, mirrors, clocks, that she 
had ever beheld. Was Mrs. Churchley's fortune also 
large, to account for so many immensities ? Of this 
Adela could know nothing, but it struck her, while she 
smiled sweetly back at their entertainer, that she had 
better try to find out. Mrs. Churchley had at least a 
high-hung carriage drawn by the tallest horses, and 
in the Row she was to be seen perched on a mighty 
hunter. She was high and extensive herself, though 
not exactly fat; her bones were big, her limbs were 
long, and her loud hurrying voice resembled the bell 
of a steamboat. While she spoke to his daughter she 



THE MARRIAGES 

had the air of hiding from Colonel Chart, a little 
shyly, behind the wide ostrich fan. But Colonel Chart 
was not a man to be either ignored or eluded. 

"Of course every one's going on to something 
else," he said. "I believe there are a lot of things 
to-night." 

"And where are you going?" Mrs. Churchley 
asked, dropping her fan and turning her bright hard 
eyes on the Colonel. 

"Oh I don't do that sort of thing!" he used a tone 
of familiar resentment that fell with a certain effect 
on his daughter's ear. She saw in it that he thought 
Mrs. Churchley might have done him a little more 
justice. But what made the honest soul suppose her 
a person to look to for a perception of fine shades ? 
Indeed the shade was one it might have been a little 
difficult to seize the difference between "going on " 
and coming to a dinner of twenty people. The pair 
were in mourning; the second year had maintained 
it for Adela, but the Colonel had n't objected to din- 
ing with Mrs. Churchley, any more than he had 
objected at Easter to going down to the Millwards', 
where he had met her and where the girl had her rea- 
sons for believing him to have known he should meet 
her. Adela was n't clear about the occasion of their 
original meeting, to which a certain mystery attached. 
In Mrs. Churchley's exclamation now there was the 
fullest concurrence in Colonel Chart's idea ; she did n't 
say "Ah yes, dear friend, I understand ! " but this was 
the note of sympathy she plainly wished to sound. It 
immediately made Adela say to her "Surely you must 
be going on somewhere yourself." 

258 



THE MARRIAGES 

"Yes, you must have a lot of places," the Colonel 
concurred, while his view of her shining raiment had 
an invidious directness. Adela could read the tacit 
implication: "You're not in sorrow, in desolation." 

Mrs. Churchley turned away from her at this and 
just waited before answering. The red fan was up 
again, and this time it sheltered her from Adela. " I '11 
give everything up for you" were the words that 
issued from behind it. "Z)o stay a little. I always 
think this is such a nice hour. One can really talk," 
Mrs. Churchley went on. The Colonel laughed; he 
said it was n't fair. But their hostess pressed his 
daughter. "Do sit down; it's the only time to have 
any talk." The girl saw her father sit down, but she 
wandered away, turning her back and pretending to 
look at a picture. She was so far from agreeing with 
Mrs. Churchley that it was an hour she particularly 
disliked. She was conscious of the queerness, the 
shyness, in London, of the gregarious flight of guests 
after a dinner, the general sauve qtii peut and panic 
fear of being left with the host and hostess. But per- 
sonally she always felt the contagion, always con- 
formed to the rush. Besides, she knew herself turn 
red now, flushed with a conviction that had come over 
her and that she wished not to show. 

Her father sat down on one of the big sofas with 
Mrs. Churchley; fortunately he was also a person 
with a presence that could hold its own. Adela did n't 
care to sit and watch them while they made love, as 
she crudely imaged it, and she cared still less to join 
in their strange commerce. She wandered further 
away, went into another of the bright "handsome," 

259 



THE MARRIAGES 

rather nude rooms they were like women dressed 
for a ball where the displaced chairs, at awkward 
angles to each other, seemed to retain the attitudes of 
bored talkers. Her heart beat as she had seldom 
known it, but she continued to make a pretence of 
looking at the pictures on the walls and the ornaments 
on the tables, while she hoped that, as she preferred 
it, it would be also the course her father would like 
best. She hoped "awfully," as she would have said, 
that he would n't think her rude. She was a person 
of courage, and he was a kind, an intensely good- 
natured man; nevertheless she went in some fear of 
him. At home it had always been a religion with them 
to be nice to the people he liked. How, in the old days, 
her mother, her incomparable mother, so clever, so 
unerring, so perfect, how in the precious days her 
mother had practised that art ! Oh her mother, her 
irrecoverable mother ! One of the pictures she was 
looking at swam before her eyes. Mrs. Churchley, in 
the natural course, would have begun immediately 
to climb staircases. Adela could see the high bony 
shoulders and the long crimson tail and the universal 
coruscating nod wriggle their horribly practical way 
through the rest of the night. Therefore she must 
have had her reasons for detaining them. There were 
mothers who thought every one wanted to marry their 
eldest son, and the girl sought to be clear as to whether 
she herself belonged to the class of daughters who 
thought every one wanted to marry their father. Her 
companions left her alone; and though she didn't 
want to be near them it angered her that Mrs. Church- 
ley did n't call her. That proved she was conscious 

260 



THE MARRIAGES 

of the situation. She would have called her, only 
Colonel Chart had perhaps dreadfully murmured 
"Don't, love, don't/* This proved he also was con- 
scious. The rime was really not long ten minutes 
at the most elapsed when he cried out gaily, pleas- 
antly, as if with a small jocular reproach, " I say, 
Adela, we must release this dear lady ! " He spoke of 
course as if it had been Adela's fault that they lingered. 
When they took leave she gave Mrs. Churchley, with- 
out intention and without defiance, but from the 
simple sincerity of her pain, a longer look into the 
eyes than she had ever given her before. Mrs. Church- 
ley's onyx pupils reflected the question as distant dark 
windows reflect the sunset; they seemed to say : "Yes, 
I am, if that 's what you want to know ! " 

What made the case worse, what made the girl more 
sure, was the silence preserved by her companion in 
the brougham on their way home. They rolled along 
in the June darkness from Prince's Gate to Seymour 
Street, each looking out of a window in conscious 
prudence; watching but not seeing the hurry of the 
London night, the flash of lamps, the quick roll on 
the wood of hansoms and other broughams. Adela 
had expected her father would say something about 
Mrs. Churchley; but when he said nothing it affected 
her, very oddly, still more as if he had spoken. In 
Seymour Street he asked the footman if Mr. Godfrey 
had come in, to which the servant replied that he had 
come in early and gone straight to his room. Adela 
had gathered as much, without saying so, from a 
lighted window on the second floor; but she contrib- 
uted no remark to the question. At the foot of the 

261 



THE MARRIAGES 

stairs her father halted as if he had something on his 
mind ; but what it amounted to seemed only the dry 
"Good-night" with which he presently ascended. 
It was the first time since her mother's death that he 
had bidden her good-night without kissing her. They 
were a kissing family, and after that dire event the 
habit had taken a fresh spring. She had left behind 
her such a general passion of regret that in kissing 
each other they felt themselves a little to be kissing 
her. Now, as, standing in the hall, with the stiff 
watching footman she could have said to him 
angrily "Go away!*' planted near her, she looked 
with unspeakable pain at her father's back while he 
mounted, the effect was of his having withheld from 
another and a still more slighted cheek the touch of 
his lips. 

He was going to his room, and after a moment she 
heard his door close. Then she said to the servant 
"Shut up the house " she tried to do everything her 
mother had done, to be a little of what she had been, 
conscious only of falling woefully short and took 
her own way upstairs. After she had reached her 
room she waited, listening, shaken by the apprehen- 
sion that she should hear her father come out again 
and go up to Godfrey. He would go up to tell him, 
to have it over without delay, precisely because it 
would be so difficult. She asked herself indeed why 
he should tell Godfrey when he had n't taken the 
occasion their drive home being an occasion to 
tell herself. However, she wanted no announcing, no 
telling; there was such a horrible clearness in her 
mind that what she now waited for was only to be 

262 



THE MARRIAGES 

sure her father would n't proceed as she had imagined. 
At the end of the minutes she saw this particular 
danger was over, upon which she came out and made 
her own way to her brother. Exactly what she wanted 
to say to him first, if their parent counted on the boy's 
greater indulgence, and before he could say anything, 
was: "Don't forgive him; don't, don't!" 

He was to go up for an examination, poor lad, and 
during these weeks his lamp burned till the small 
hours. It was for the Foreign Office, and there was 
to be some frightful number of competitors ; but Adela 
had great hopes of him she believed so in his 
talents and saw with pity how hard he worked. This 
would have made her spare him, not trouble his night, 
his scanty rest, if anything less dreadful had been at 
stake. It was a blessing however that one could count 
on his coolness, young as he was his bright good- 
looking discretion, the thing that already made him 
half a man of the world. Moreover he was the one 
who would care most. If Basil was the eldest son 
he had as a matter of course gone into the army and 
was in India, on the staff, by good luck, of a governor- 
general it was exactly this that would make him 
comparatively indifferent. His life was elsewhere, 
and his father and he had been in a measure military 
comrades, so that he would be deterred by a certain 
delicacy from protesting; he would n't have liked any 
such protest in an affair of bis. Beatrice and Muriel 
would care, but they were too young to speak, and 
this was just why her own responsibility was so great. 

Godfrey was in working-gear shirt and trousers 
and slippers and a beautiful silk jacket. His room 

263 



THE MARRIAGES 

felt hot, though a window was open to the summer 
night; the lamp on the table shed its studious light 
over a formidable heap of text-books and papers, the 
bed moreover showing how he had flung himself down 
to think out a problem. As soon as she got in she 
began. "Father's going to marry Mrs. Churchley, 
you know." 

She saw his poor pink face turn pale. " How do you 
know?" 

"I *ve seen with my eyes. We Ve been dining there 
we've just come home. He's in love with her. 
She's in love with him. They'll arrange it." 

"Oh I say I" Godfrey exclaimed, incredulous. 

"He will, he will, he will 1 " cried the girl; and with 
it she burst into tears. 

Godfrey, who had a cigarette in his hand, lighted it 
at one of the candles on the mantelpiece as if he were 
embarrassed. As Adela, who had dropped into his 
armchair, continued to sob, he said after a moment : 
"He ought n't to he ought n't to/' 

"Oh think of mamma think of mamma!" she 
wailed almost louder than was safe. 

"Yes, he ought to think of mamma." With which 
Godfrey looked at the tip of his cigarette. 

"To such a woman as that after her!" 

"Dear old mamma!" said Godfrey while he 
smoked. 

Adela rose again, drying her eyes. "It's like an in- 
sult to her; it's as if he denied her." Now that she 
spoke of it she felt herself rise to a height. " He rubs 
out at a stroke all the years of their happiness." 

"They were awfully happy," Godfrey agreed. 
264 



THE MARRIAGES 

"Think what she was think how no one else will 
ever again be like her ! " the girl went on. 

"I suppose he 's not very happy now/' her brother 
vaguely contributed. 

"Of course he is n't, any more than you and I are; 
and it *s dreadful of him to want to be." 

"Well, don't make yourself miserable till you're 
sure," the young man said. 

But Adela showed him confidently that she was 
sure, from the way the pair had behaved together and 
from her father's attitude on the drive home. If God- 
frey had been there he would have seen everything; it 
could n't be explained, but he would have felt. When 
he asked at what moment the girl had first had her 
suspicion she replied that it had all come at once, that 
evening; or that at least she had had no conscious fear 
till then. There had been signs for two or three weeks, 
but she had n't understood them ever since the day 
Mrs. Churchley had dined in Seymour Street. Adela 
had on that occasion thought it odd her father should 
have wished to invite her, given the quiet way they 
were living; she was a person they knew so little. He 
had said something about her having been very civil 
to him, and that evening, already, she had guessed 
that he must have frequented their portentous guest 
herself more than there had been signs of. To-night it 
had come to her clearly that he would have called on 
her every day since the time of her dining with them ; 
every afternoon about the hour he was ostensibly at his 
club. Mrs. Churchley was his club she was for all 
the world just like one. At this Godfrey laughed; he 
wanted to know what his sister knew about clubs. She 

265 



THE MARRIAGES 

was slightly disappointed in his laugh, even wounded 
by it, but she knew perfectly what she meant: she 
meant that Mrs. Churchley was public and florid, 
promiscuous and mannish. 

"Oh I dare say she's all right," he said as if he 
wanted to get on with his work. He looked at the 
clock on the mantel-shelf; he would have to put in 
another hour. 

"All right to come and take darling mamma's place 
to sit where she used to sit, to lay her horrible hands 
on her things ? " Adela was appalled all the more 
that she had n't expected it at her brother's appar- 
ent acceptance of such a prospect. 

He coloured ; there was something in her passionate 
piety that scorched him. She glared at him with tragic 
eyes he might have profaned an altar. " Oh I mean 
that nothing will come of it." 

"Not if we do our duty," said Adela. And then as 
he looked as if he had n't an idea of what that could be : 
"You must speak to him tell him how we feel ; that 
we shall never forgive him, that we can't endure it." 

"He'll think I'm cheeky," her brother returned, 
looking down at his papers with his back to her and 
his hands in his pockets. 

"Cheeky to plead for her memory ?" 

"He'll say it's none of my business." 

"Then you believe he'll do it?" cried the girl. 

"Not a bit. Go to bed!" 

"/'// speak to him " she had turned as pale as a 
young priestess. 

"Don't cry out rill you're hurt; wait rill he speaks 
to you." 

266 



THE MARRIAGES 

"He won't, he won't!" she declared. "He'll do it 
without telling us." 

Her brother had faced round to her again; he 
started a little at this, and again, at one of the candles, 
lighted his cigarette, which had gone out. She looked 
at him a moment; then he said something that sur- 
prised her. "Is Mrs. Churchley very rich ?" 

" I have n't the least idea. What on earth has that 
to do with it?" 

Godfrey puffed his cigarette. "Does she live as if 
she were?" 

"She has a lot of hideous showy things." 

"Well, we must keep our eyes open," he concluded. 
"And now you must let me get on." He kissed his vis- 
itor as if to make up for dismissing her, or for his fail- 
ure to take fire; and she held him a moment, burying 
her head on his shoulder. 

A wave of emotion surged through her, and again 
she quavered out: "Ah why did she leave us ? Why 
did she leave us ? " 

"Yes, why indeed ?" the young man sighed, disen- 
gaging himself with a movement of oppression. 



II 

ADELA was so far right as that by the end of the week, 
though she remained certain, her father had still not 
made the announcement she dreaded. What con- 
vinced her was the sense of her changed relations with 
him of there being between them something unex- 
pressed, something she was aware of as she would 
have been of an open wound. When she spoke of this 
to Godfrey he said the change was of her own making 
also that she was cruelly unjust to the governor. 
She suffered even more from her brother's unexpected 
perversity; she had had so different a theory about 
him that her disappointment was almost an humilia- 
tion and she needed all her fortitude to pitch her faith 
lower. She wondered what had happened to him and 
why he so failed her. She would have trusted him to 
feel right about anything, above all about such a ques- 
tion. Their worship of their mother's memory, their 
recognition of her sacred place in their past, her ex- 
quisite influence in their father's life, his fortune, his 
career, in the whole history of the family and welfare 
of the house accomplished clever gentle good 
beautiful and capable as she had been, a woman whose 
quiet distinction was universally admired, so that on 
her death one of the Princesses, the most august of her 
friends, had written Adela such a note about her as 
princesses were understood very seldom to write : their 
hushed tenderness over all this was like a religion, and 

268 



THE MARRIAGES 

was also an attributive honour, to fall away from 
which was a form of treachery. This was n't the way 
people usually felt in London, she knew; but strenu- 
ous ardent observant girl as she was, with secrecies of 
sentiment and dim originalities of attitude, she had 
already made up her mind that London was no treas- 
ure-house of delicacies. Remembrance there was 
hammered thin to be faithful was to make society 
gape. The patient dead were sacrificed ; they had no 
shrines, for people were literally ashamed of mourning. 
When they had hustled all sensibility out of their lives 
they invented the fiction that they felt too much to 
utter. Adela said nothing to her sisters ; this reticence 
was part of the virtue it was her idea to practise for 
them. She was to be their mother, a direct deputy and 
representative. Before the vision of that other woman 
parading in such a character she felt capable of in- 
genuities, of deep diplomacies. The essence of these 
indeed was just tremulously to watch her father. Five 
days after they had dined together at Mrs. Church- 
ley's he asked her if she had been to see that lady. 

"No indeed, why should I ?" Adela knew that he 
knew she had n't been, since Mrs. Churchley would 
have told him. 

"Don't you call on people after you dine with 
them ? " said Colonel Chart. 

"Yes, in the course of time. I don't rush off within 
the week." 

Her father looked at her, and his eyes were colder 
than she had ever seen them, which was probably, she 
reflected, just the way hers appeared to himself. 
"Then you'll please rush off to-morrow* She's to 

269 



THE MARRIAGES 

dine with us on the I2th, and I shall expect your sis- 
ters to come down/' 

Adela stared. "To a dinner-party ?" 

"It's not to be a dinner-party, I want them to 
know Mrs. Churchley." 

"Is there to be nobody else ?" 

"Godfrey of course. A family party," he said with 
an assurance before which she turned cold. 

The girl asked her brother that evening if that 
was n't tantamount to an announcement. He looked 
at her queerly and then said : "I've been to see her." 

"What on earth did you do that for?" 

"Father told me he wished it." 

"Then he bos told you?" 

"Told me what ?" Godfrey asked while her heart 
sank with the sense of his making difficulties for her. 

"That they're engaged, of course. What else can 
all this mean ? " 

"He did n't tell me that, but I like her." 

"Like her!" the girl shrieked. 

"She's very kind, very good." 

"To thrust herself upon us when we hate her ? Is 
that what you call kind? Is that what you call 
decent?" 

"Oh 7 don't hate her" and he turned away as if 
she bored him. 

She called the next day on Mrs. Churchley, de- 
signing to break out somehow, to plead, to appeal 
"Oh spare us! have mercy on us! let him alone! go 
away ! " But that was n't easy when they were face to 
face. Mrs. Churchley had every intention of getting, 
as she would have said she was perpetually using 

270 



THE MARRIAGES 

the expression into touch ; but her good intentions 
were as depressing as a tailor's misfits. She could 
never understand that they had no place for her vulgar 
charity, that their life was filled with a fragrance of 
perfection for which she had no sense fine enough. 
She was as undomestic as a shop-front and as out of 
tune as a parrot. She would either make them live in 
the streets or bring the streets into their life it was 
the same thing. She had evidently never read a book, 
and she used intonations that Adela had never heard, 
as if she had been an Australian or an American. She 
understood everything in a vulgar sense; speaking of 
Godfrey's visit to her and praising him according to 
her idea, saying horrid things about him that he 
was awfully good-looking, a perfect gentleman, the 
kind she liked. How could her father, who was after 
all in everything else such a dear, listen to a woman, or 
endure her, who thought she pleased him when she 
called the son of his dead wife a perfect gentleman ? 
What would he have been, pray ? Much she knew 
about what any of them were ! When she told Adela 
she wanted her to like her the girl thought for an in- 
stant her opportunity had come the chance to plead 
with her and beg her off. But she presented such 
an impenetrable surface that it would have been like 
giving a message to a varnished door. She was n't 
a woman, said Adela ; she was an address. 

When she dined in Seymour Street the "children," 
as the girl called the others, including Godfrey, liked 
her. Beatrice and Muriel stared shyly and silently at 
the wonders of her apparel (she was brutally over- 
dressed) without of course guessing the danger that 

271 



THE MARRIAGES 

tainted the air. They supposed her in their innocence 
to be amusing, and they did n't know, any more than 
she did herself, how she patronised them. When she 
was upstairs with them after dinner Adela could see 
her look round the room at the things she meant to 
alter their mother's things, not a bit like her own 
and not good enough for her. After a quarter of an 
hour of this our young lady felt sure she was deciding 
that Seymour Street would n't do at all, the dear old 
home that had done for their mother those twenty 
years. Was she plotting to transport them all to her 
horrible Prince's Gate ? Of one thing at any rate Adela 
was certain : her father, at that moment alone in the 
dining-room with Godfrey, pretending to drink an- 
other glass of wine to make time, was coming to the 
point, was telling the news. When they reappeared 
they both, to her eyes, looked unnatural : the news had 
been told. 

She had it from Godfrey before Mrs. Churchley left 
the house, when, after a brief interval, he followed her 
out of the drawing-room on her taking her sisters to 
bed. She was waiting for him at the door of her room. 
Her father was then alone with his fiancee the word 
was grotesque to Adela; it was already as if the place 
were her home. 

"What did you say to him ?*' our young woman 
asked when her brother had told her. 

"I said nothing. 5 ' Then he added, colouring the 
expression of her face was such "There was no- 
thing to say." 

"Is that how it strikes you ?" and she stared at 
the lamp. 

272 



THE MARRIAGES 

"He asked me to speak to her/' Godfrey went on. 

"In what hideous sense?" 

"To tell her I was glad." 

"And did you?" Adela panted. 

" I don't know. I said something. She kissed me." 

"Oh how could you?" shuddered the girl, who 
covered her face with her hands. 

"He says she's very rich," her brother returned. 

"Is that why you kissed her?" 

"I did n't kiss her. Good-night." And the young 
man, turning his back, went out. 

When he had gone Adela locked herself in as with 
the fear she should be overtaken or invaded, and dur- 
ing a sleepless feverish memorable night she took 
counsel of her uncompromising spirit. She saw things 
as they were, in all the indignity of life. The levity, the 
mockery, the infidelity, the ugliness, lay as plain as a 
map before her; it was a world of gross practical jokes, 
a world pour rire; but she cried about it all the same. 
The morning dawned early, or rather it seemed to her 
there had been no night, nothing but a sickly creeping 
day. But by the time she heard the house stirring 
again she had determined what to do. When she came 
down to the breakfast-room her father was already in 
his place with newspapers and letters; and she ex- 
pected the first words he would utter to be a rebuke to 
her for having disappeared the night before without 
taking leave of Mrs. Churchley. Then she saw he 
wished to be intensely kind, to make every allowance, 
to conciliate and console her. He knew she had heard 
from Godfrey, and he got up and kissed her. He told 
her as quickly as possible, to have it over, stammering 

273 



THE MARRIAGES 

a little, with an " I 've a piece of news for you that will 
probably shock you/' yet looking even exaggeratedly 
grave and rather pompous, to inspire the respect he 
did n't deserve. When he kissed her she melted, she 
burst into tears. He held her against him, kissing her 
again and again, saying tenderly "Yes, yes, I know, I 
know/* But he did n't know else he could n't have 
done it. Beatrice and Muriel came in, frightened 
when they saw her crying, and still more scared when 
she turned to them with words and an air that were 
terrible in their comfortable little lives : " Papa 's going 
to be married ; he 's going to marry Mrs. Churchley ! " 
After staring a moment and seeing their father look as 
strange, on his side, as Adela, though in a different 
way, the children also began to cry, so that when the 
servants arrived with tea and boiled eggs these func- 
tionaries were greatly embarrassed with their burden, 
not knowing whether to come in or hang back. They 
all scraped together a decorum, and as soon as the 
things had been put on table the Colonel banished the 
men with a glance. Then he made a little affectionate 
speech to Beatrice and Muriel, in which he described 
Mrs. Churchley as the kindest, the most delightful of 
women, only wanting to make them happy, only want- 
ing to make him happy, and convinced that he would 
be if they were and that they would be if he was. 

"What do such words mean ? " Adela asked herself. 
She declared privately that they meant nothing, but 
she was silent, and every one was silent, on account of 
the advent of Miss Flynn the governess, before whom 
Colonel Chart preferred not to discuss the situation. 
Adela recognised on the spot that if things were to go 

274 



THE MARRIAGES 

as he wished his children would practically never again 
be alone with him. He would spend all his time with 
Mrs. Churchley till they were married, and then Mrs. 
Churchley would spend all her time with him. Adela 
was ashamed of him, and that was horrible all the 
more that everyone else would be, all his other friends, 
everyone who had known her mother. But the public 
dishonour to that high memory should n't be enacted ; 
he should n't do as he wished. 

After breakfast her father remarked to her that it 
would give him pleasure if in a day or two she would 
take her sisters to see their friend, and she replied that 
he should be obeyed. He held her hand a moment, 
looking at her with an argument in his eyes which 
presently hardened into sternness. He wanted to 
know that she forgave him, but also wanted to assure 
her that he expected her to mind what she did, to go 
straight. She turned away her eyes; she was indeed 
ashamed of him. 

She waited three days and then conveyed her sisters 
to the repaire, as she would have been ready to term 
it, of the lioness. That queen of beasts was sur- 
rounded with callers, as Adela knew she would be; 
it was her " day " and the occasion the girl preferred. 
Before this she had spent all her time with her com- 
panions, talking to them about their mother, playing 
on their memory of her, making them cry and making 
them laugh, reminding them of blest hours of their 
early childhood, telling them anecdotes of her own. 
None the less she confided to them that she believed 
there was no harm at all in Mrs. Churchley, and that 
when the time should come she would probably take 

275 



THE MARRIAGES 

them out immensely. She saw with smothered irrita- 
tion that they enjoyed their visit at Prince's Gate; 
they had never been at anything so "grown-up," nor 
seen so many smart bonnets and brilliant complex- 
ions. Moreover they were considered with interest, 
quite as if, being minor elements, yet perceptible ones, 
of Mrs. Churchley's new life, they had been described 
in advance and were the heroines of the occasion. 
There were so many ladies present that this person- 
age did n't talk to them much ; she only called them 
her "chicks " and asked them to hand about tea-cups 
and bread and butter. All of which was highly agree- 
able and indeed intensely exciting to Beatrice and 
Muriel, who had little round red spots in their cheeks 
when they came away. Adela quivered with the sense 
that her mother's children were now Mrs. Churchley's 
"chicks" and a part of the furniture of Mrs. Church- 
ley's dreadful consciousness. 

It was one thing to have made up her mind, how- 
ever; it was another thing to make her attempt. It 
was when she learned from Godfrey that the day was 
fixed, the 2Oth of July, only six weeks removed, that 
she felt the importance of prompt action. She learned 
everything from Godfrey now, having decided it 
would be hypocrisy to question her father. Even her 
silence was hypocritical, but she could n't weep and 
wail. Her father showed extreme tact; taking no 
notice of her detachment, treating it as a moment 
of louderie he was bound to allow her and that would 
pout itself away. She debated much as to whether she 
should take Godfrey into her confidence; she would 
have done so without hesitation if he had n't disap- 

276 



THE MARRIAGES 

pointed her. He was so little what she might have 
expected, and so perversely preoccupied that she could 
explain it only by the high pressure at which he was 
living, his anxiety about his "exam." He was in a 
fidget, in a fever, putting on a spurt to come in first; 
sceptical moreover about his success and cynical 
about everything else. He appeared to agree to the 
general axiom that they did n't want a strange woman 
thrust into their life, but he found Mrs. Churchley 
"very jolly as a person to know/* He had been to see 
her by himself he had been to see her three times. 
He in fact gave it out that he would make the most 
of her now; he should probably be so little in Seymour 
Street after these days. What Adela at last deter- 
mined to give him was her assurance that the mar- 
riage would never take place. When he asked what 
she meant and who was to prevent it she replied that 
the interesting couple would abandon the idea of 
themselves, or that Mrs. Churchley at least would 
after a week or two back out of it. 

"That will be really horrid then/' Godfrey pro- 
nounced. "The only respectable thing, at the point 
they 've come to, is to put it through. Charming for 
poor DaJ to have the air of being ' chucked'!" 

This made her hesitate two days more, but she 
found answers more valid than any objections. The 
many- voiced answer to everything it was like the 
autumn wind round the house was the affront 
that fell back on her mother. Her mother was dead, 
but it killed her again. So one morning at eleven 
o'clock, when she knew her father was writing letters, 
she went out quietly and, stopping the first hansom 

277 



THE MARRIAGES 

she met, drove to Prince's Gate. Mrs. Churchley was 
at home, and she was shown into the drawing-room 
with the request that she would wait five minutes. 
She waited without the sense of breaking down at the 
last, and the impulse to run away, which were what she 
had expected to have. In the cab and at the door her 
heart had beat terribly, but now suddenly, with the 
game really to play, she found herself lucid and calm. 
It was a joy to her to feel later that this was the way 
Mrs. Churchley found her; not confused, not stam- 
mering nor prevaricating, only a little amazed at her 
own courage, conscious of the immense responsibility 
of her step and wonderfully older than her years. 
Her hostess sounded her at first with suspicious eyes, 
but eventually, to Adela's surprise, burst into tears. 
At this the girl herself cried, and with the secret hap- 
piness of believing they were saved. Mrs. Churchley 
said she would think over what she had been told, and 
she promised her young friend, freely enough and 
very firmly, not to betray the secret of the latter's step 
to the Colonel. They were saved they were saved : 
the words sung themselves in the girl's soul as she 
came downstairs. When the door opened for her 
she saw her brother on the step, and they looked at 
each other in surprise, each finding it on the part of 
the other an odd hour for Prince's Gate. Godfrey 
remarked that Mrs. Churchley would have enough 
of the family, and Adela answered that she would 
perhaps have too much. None the less the young man 
went in while his sister took her way home. 



Ill 

SHE saw nothing of him for nearly a week; he had 
more and more his own times and hours, adjusted to 
his tremendous responsibilities, and he spent whole 
days at his crammer's. When she knocked at his door 
late in the evening he was regularly not in his room. 
It was known in the house how much he was worried ; 
he was horribly nervous about his ordeal. It was to 
begin on the 23d of June, and his father was as wor- 
ried as himself. The wedding had been arranged in 
relation to this; they wished poor Godfrey's fate 
settled first, though they felt the nuptials would be 
darkened if it should n't be settled right. 

Ten days after that performance of her private 
undertaking Adela began to sniff, as it were, a differ- 
ence in the general air; but as yet she was afraid to 
exult. It was n't in truth a difference for the better, 
so that there might be still a great tension. Her 
father, since the announcement of his intended mar- 
riage, had been visibly pleased with himself, but that 
pleasure now appeared to have undergone a check. 
She had the impression known to the passengers on 
a great steamer when, in the middle of the night, they 
feel the engines stop. As this impression may easily 
sharpen to the sense that something serious has hap- 
pened, so the girl asked herself what had actually 
occurred. She had expected something serious; but 
it was as if she could n't keep still in her cabin she 

279 



THE MARRIAGES 

wanted to go up and see. On the 20th, just before 
breakfast, her maid brought her a message from her 
brother. Mr. Godfrey would be obliged if she would 
speak to him in his room. She went straight up to 
him, dreading to find him ill, broken down on the eve 
of his formidable week. This was not the case how- 
ever he rather seemed already at work, to have 
been at work since dawn. But he was very white and 
his eyes had a strange and new expression. Her 
beautiful young brother looked older; he looked hag- 
gard and hard. He met her there as if he had been 
waiting for her, and he said at once: "Please tell 
me this, Adela what was the purpose of your visit 
the other morning to Mrs. Churchley, the day I met 
you at her door ? " 

She stared she cast about. "The purpose ? 
What's the matter? Why do you ask ?" 

"They've put it off they've put it off a month/' 

"Ah thank God!" said Adela. 

"Why the devil do you thank God?" Godfrey 
asked with a strange impatience. 

She gave a strained intense smile. "You know I 
think it all wrong." 

He stood looking at her up and down. "What did 
you do there ? How did you interfere ? " 

"Who told you I interfered I" she returned with a 
deep flush. 

"You said something you did something. I knew 
you had done it when I saw you come out." 

"What I did was my own business." 

"Damn your own business !" cried the young man. 

She had never in her life been so spoken to, and in 
280 



THE MARRIAGES 

advance, had she been given the choice, would have 
said that she 'd rather die than be so handled by God- 
frey. But her spirit was high, and for a moment she 
was as angry as if she had been cut with a whip. She 
escaped the blow but felt the insult. "And your busi- 
ness then ?" she asked. "I wondered what that was 
when I saw you" 

He stood a moment longer scowling at her; then 
with the exclamation " You 've made a pretty mess I" 
he turned away from her and sat down to his books. 

They had put it off, as he said; her father was dry 
and stiff and official about it. " I suppose I had better 
let you know we've thought it best to postpone our 
marriage till the end of the summer Mrs. Church- 
ley has so many arrangements to make " : he was not 
more expansive than that. She neither knew nor 
greatly cared whether she but vainly imagined or cor- 
rectly observed him to watch her obliquely for some 
measure of her receipt of these words. She flattered 
herself that, thanks to Godfrey's forewarning, cruel 
as the form of it had been, she was able to repress any 
crude sign of elation. She had a perfectly good con- 
science, for she could now judge what odious elements 
Mrs. Churchley, whom she had not seen since the 
morning in Prince's Gate, had already introduced 
into their dealings. She gathered without difficulty 
that her father had n't concurred in the postponement, 
for he was more restless than before, more absent and 
distinctly irritable. There was naturally still the ques- 
tion of how much of this condition was to be attrib- 
uted to his solicitude about Godfrey. That young man 
took occasion to say a horrible thing to his sister: 

281 



THE MARRIAGES 

"If I don't pass it will be your fault." These were 
dreadful days for the girl, and she asked herself how 
she could have borne them if the hovering spirit of 
her mother had n't been at her side. Fortunately she 
always felt it there, sustaining, commending, sancti- 
fying. Suddenly her father announced to her that he 
wished her to go immediately, with her sisters, down 
to Brinton, where there was always part of a house- 
hold and where for a few weeks they would manage 
well enough. The only explanation he gave of this 
desire was that he wanted them out of the way. " Out 
of the way of what ? " she queried, since there were 
to be for the time no preparations in Seymour Street. 
She was willing to take it for out of the way of his 
nerves. 

She never needed urging however to go to Brinton, 
the dearest old house in the world, where the happiest 
days of her young life had been spent and the silent 
nearness of her mother always seemed greatest. She 
was happy again, with Beatrice and Muriel and Miss 
Flynn, with the air of summer and the haunted rooms 
and her mother's garden and the talking oaks and the 
nightingales. She wrote briefly to her father, giving 
him, as he had requested, an account of things ; and 
he wrote back that since she was so contented she 
did n't recognise having told him that she had bet- 
ter not return to town at all. The fag-end of the Lon- 
don season would be unimportant to her, and he was 
getting on very well. He mentioned that Godfrey 
had passed his tests, but, as she knew, there would 
be a tiresome wait before news of results. The poor 
chap was going abroad for a month with young Sher- 

282 



THE MARRIAGES 

ard he had earned a little rest and a little fun. He 
went abroad without a word to Adela, but in his 
beautiful little hand he took a chaffing leave of Bea- 
trice. The child showed her sister the letter, of which 
she was very proud and which contained no message 
for any one else. This was the worst bitterness of the 
whole crisis for that somebody its placing in so 
strange a light the creature in the world whom, after 
her mother, she had loved best. 

Colonel Chart had said he would "run down 5 * 
while his children were at Brinton, but they heard no 
more about it. He only wrote two or three times to 
Miss Flynn on matters in regard to which Adela was 
surprised he should n't have communicated with her- 
self. Muriel accomplished an upright little letter to 
Mrs. Churchley her eldest sister neither fostered 
nor discouraged the performance to which Mrs. 
Churchley replied, after a fortnight, in a meagre and, 
as Adela thought, illiterate fashion, making no allu- 
sion to the approach of any closer tie. Evidently the 
situation had changed ; the question of the marriage 
was dropped, at any rate for the time. This idea gave 
our young woman a singular and almost intoxicating 
sense of power ; she felt as if she were riding a great 
wave of confidence. She had decided and acted 
the greatest could do no more than that. The grand 
thing was to see one's results, and what else was she 
doing ? These results were in big rich conspicuous 
lives; the stage was large on which she moved her 
figures. Such a vision was exciting, and as they had 
the use of a couple of ponies at Brinton she worked 
off her excitement by a long gallop. A day or two after 

283 



THE MARRIAGES 

this however came news of which the effect was to 
rekindle it. Godfrey had come back, the list had been 
published, he had passed first. These happy tidings 
proceeded from the young man himself; he announced 
them by a telegram to Beatrice, who had never in her 
life before received such a missive and was proportion- 
ately inflated. Adela reflected that she herself ought 
to have felt snubbed, but she was too happy. They 
were free again, they were themselves, the nightmare 
of the previous weeks was blown away, the unity and 
dignity of her father's life restored, and, to round off 
her sense of success, Godfrey had achieved his first 
step toward high distinction. She wrote him the next 
day as frankly and affectionately as if there had been 
no estrangement between them, and besides telling 
him how she rejoiced in his triumph begged him in 
charity to let them know exactly how the case stood 
with regard to Mrs. Churchley. 

Late in the summer afternoon she walked through 
the park to the village with her letter, posted it and 
came back. Suddenly, at one of the turns of the ave- 
nue, halfway to the house, she saw a young man 
hover there as if awaiting her a young man who 
proved to be Godfrey on his pedestrian progress over 
from the station. He had seen her as he took his short 
cut, and if he had come down to Brinton it was n't 
apparently to avoid her. There was nevertheless none 
of the joy of his triumph in his face as he came a very 
few steps to meet her; and although, stiffly enough, 
he let her kiss him and say "I'm so glad I'm so 
glad!" she felt this tolerance as not quite the mere 
calm of the rising diplomatist. He turned' toward the 

284 



THE MARRIAGES 

house with her and walked on a short distance while 
she uttered the hope that he had come to stay some 
days. 

"Only till to-morrow morning. They're sending 
me straight to Madrid. I came down to say good-bye ; 
there's a fellow bringing my bags/' 

" To Madrid? How awfully nice ! And it 's awfully 
nice of you to have come," she said as she passed her 
hand into his arm. 

The movement made him stop, and, stopping, he 
turned on her in a flash a face of something more 
than suspicion of passionate reprobation. "What 
I really came for you might as well know without 
more delay is to ask you a question." 

"A question?" she echoed it with a beating 
heart. 

They stood there under the old trees in the linger- 
ing light, and, young and fine and fair as they both 
were, formed a complete superficial harmony with the 
peaceful English scene. A near view, however, would 
have shown that Godfrey Chart hadn't taken so 
much trouble only to skim the surface. He looked 
deep into his sister's eyes. " What was it you said that 
morning to Mrs. Churchley?" 

She fixed them on the ground a moment, but at 
last met his own again. " If she has told you, why do 
you ask ? " 

"She has told me nothing. I've seen for myself.'* 

"What have you seen?" 

"She has broken it off. Everything's over. Fa- 
ther's in the depths." 

"In the depths ?" the girl quavered. 



THE MARRIAGES 

" Did you think it would make him jolly ? " he went 
on. 

She had to choose what to say. "He '11 get over it. 
He'll be glad/' 

"That remains to be seen. You interfered, you 
invented something, you got round her. I insist on 
knowing what you did." 

Adela felt that if it was a question of obstinacy 
there was something within her she could count on ; 
in spite of which, while she stood looking down again 
a moment, she said to herself "I could be dumb and 
dogged if I chose, but I scorn to be." She was n't 
ashamed of what she had done, but she wanted to 
be clear. "Are you absolutely certain it's broken 
off?" 

"He is, and she is; so that's as good." 
"What reason has she given ?" 
"None at all or half a dozen ; it 's the same thing. 
She has changed her mind she mistook her feelings 
she can't part with her independence. Moreover 
he has too many children/' 
"Did he tell you this ?" the girl asked. 
"Mrs. Churchley told me. She has gone abroad for 
a year." 

"And she did n't tell you what I said to her ? " 
Godfrey showed an impatience. "Why should I take 
this trouble if she had ?" 

"You might have taken it to make me suffer," said 

Adela. "That appears to be what you want to do." 

"No, I leave that to you it's the good turn 

you 've done me ! " cried the young man with hot tears 

in his eyes. 

286 



THE MARRIAGES 

She stared, aghast with the perception that there 
was some dreadful thing she did n't know; but he 
walked on, dropping the question angrily and turning 
his back to her as if he could n't trust himself. She 
read his disgust in his averted face, in the way he 
squared his shoulders and smote the ground with his 
stick, and she hurried after him and presently over- 
took him. She kept by him for a moment in silence; 
then she broke out: "What do you mean ? What in 
the world have I done to you ? " 

"She would have helped me. She was all ready to 
help me," Godfrey portentously said. 

"Helped you in what?" She wondered what he 
meant; if he had made debts that he was afraid to con- 
fess to his father and of all horrible things had 
been looking to Mrs. Churchley to pay. She turned 
red with the mere apprehension of this and, on the 
heels of her guess, exulted again at having perhaps 
averted such a shame. 

"Can't you just see I'm in trouble? Where are 
your eyes, your senses, your sympathy, that you talk 
so much about ? Have n't you seen these six months 
that I've a curst worry in my life ?" 

She seized his arm, made him stop, stood looking up 
at him like a frightened little girl. "What's the mat- 
ter, Godfrey ? what is the matter ? " 

"You've gone against me so I could strangle 
you ! " he growled. This image added nothing to her 
dread ; her dread was that he had done some wrong, 
was stained with some guilt. She uttered it to him 
with clasped hands, begging him to tell her the worst; 
but, still more passionately, he cut her short with his 



THE MARRIAGES 

own cry : " In God's name, satisfy me ! What infernal 
thing did you do ? " 

"It wasn't infernal it was right. I told her 
mamma had been wretched," said Adela. 
" Wretched? You told her such a lie?" 
"It was the only way, and she believed me." 
"Wretched how? wretched when? wretched 
where?" the young man stammered. 

"I told her papa had made her so, and that she 
ought to know it. I told her the question troubled me 
unspeakably, but that I had made up my mind it was 
my duty to initiate her." Adela paused, the light of 
bravado in her face, as if, though struck while the 
words came with the monstrosity of what she had 
done, she was incapable of abating a jot of it. " I noti- 
fied her that he had faults and peculiarities that made 
mamma's life a long worry a martyrdom that she 
hid wonderfully from the world, but that we saw and 
that I had often pitied. I told her what they were, 
these faults and peculiarities; I put the dots on the z's. 
I said it was n't fair to let another person marry him 
without a warning. I warned her; I satisfied my con- 
science. She could do as she liked. My responsibility 



was over." 



Godfrey gazed at her; he listened with parted lips, 
incredulous and appalled. "You invented such a tis- 
sue of falsities and calumnies, and you talk about your 
conscience ? You stand there in your senses and pro- 
claim your crime ? " 

"I'd have committed any crime that would have 
rescued us." 



288 



THE MARRIAGES 

"You insult and blacken and ruin your own 
father ? " Godfrey kept on. 

"He'll never know it; she took a vow she would n't 
tell him." 

"Ah I '11 be damned if / won't tell him ! " he rang 
out. 

Adela felt sick at this, but she flamed up to resent 
the treachery, as it struck her, of such a menace. " I 
did right I did right!" she vehemently declared. 
"I went down on my knees to pray for guidance, and 
I saved mamma's memory from outrage. But if I 
hadn't, if I hadn't" she faltered an instant 
" I 'm not worse than you, and I 'm not so bad, for 
you've done something that you're ashamed to tell 



me." 



He had taken out his watch; he looked at it with 
quick intensity, as if not hearing nor heeding her. 
Then, his calculating eyes raised, he fixed her long 
enough to exclaim with unsurpassable horror and con- 
tempt : "You raving maniac ! " He turned away from 
her; he bounded down the avenue in the direction 
from which they had come, and, while she watched 
him, strode away, across the grass, toward the short 
cut to the station. 



IV 

His bags, by the time she got home, had been brought 
to the house, but Beatrice and Muriel, immediately 
informed of this, waited for their brother in vain. 
Their sister said nothing to them of her having seen 
him, and she accepted after a little, with a calmness 
that surprised herself, the idea that he had returned to 
town to denounce her. She believed this would make 
no difference now she had done what she had done. 
She had somehow a stiff faith in Mrs. Churchley. 
Once that so considerable mass had received its im- 
petus it would n't, it could n't pull up. It represented 
a heavy-footed person, incapable of further agility. 
Adela recognised too how well it might have come over 
her that there were too many children. Lastly the girl 
fortified herself with the reflexion, grotesque in the 
conditions and conducing to prove her sense of hu- 
mour not high, that her father was after all not a man 
to be played with. It seemed to her at any rate that if 
she bad baffled his unholy purpose she could bear any- 
thing bear imprisonment and bread and water, 
bear lashes and torture, bear even his lifelong reproach. 
What she could bear least was the wonder of the in- 
convenience she had inflicted on Godfrey. She had 
rime to turn this over, very vainly, for a succession of 
days days more numerous than she had expected, 
which passed without bringing her from London any 
summons to come up and take her punishment. She 

290 



THE MARRIAGES 

sounded the possible, she compared the degrees of the 
probable; feeling however that as a cloistered girl she 
was poorly equipped for speculation. She tried to im- 
agine the calamitous things young men might do, and 
could only feel that such things would naturally be 
connected either with borrowed money or with bad 
women. She became conscious that after all she knew 
almost nothing about either of those interests. The 
worst woman she knew was Mrs. Churchley herself. 
Meanwhile there was no reverberation from Seymour 
Street only a sultry silence. 

At Brinton she spent hours in her mother's garden, 
where she had grown up, where she considered that 
she was training for old age, since she meant not to de- 
pend on whist. She loved the place as, had she been a 
good Catholic, she would have loved the smell of her 
parish church ; and indeed there was in her passion for 
flowers something of the respect of a religion. They 
seemed to her the only things in the world that really 
respected themselves, unless one made an exception 
for Nutkins, who had been in command all through 
her mother's time, with whom she had had a real 
friendship and who had been affected by their pure 
example. He was the person left in the world with 
whom on the whole she could speak most intimately of 
the dead. They never had to name her together 
they only said "she"; and Nutkins freely conceded 
that she had taught him everything he knew. When 
Beatrice and Muriel said "she" they referred to Mrs. 
Churchley. Adela had reason to believe she should 
never marry, and that some day she should have about 
a thousand a year. This made her see in the far future 

291 



THE MARRIAGES 

a little garden of her own, under a hill, full of rare and 
exquisite things, where she would spend most of her 
old age on her knees with an apron and stout gloves, 
with a pair of shears and a trowel, steeped in the com- 
fort of being thought mad. 

One morning ten days after her scene with Godfrey, 
on coming back into the house shortly before lunch, 
she was met by Miss Flynn with the notification that 
a lady in the drawing-room had been waiting for her 
for some minutes. "A lady" suggested immediately 
Mrs. Churchley. It came over Adela that the form in 
which her penalty was to descend would be a personal 
explanation with that misdirected woman. The lady 
had given no name, and Miss Flynn had n't seen Mrs. 
Churchley; nevertheless the governess was certain 
Adela's surmise was wrong. 

"Is she big and dreadful ?" the girl asked. 
Miss Flynn, who was circumspection itself, took her 
time. " She 's dreadful, but she 's not big/' She added 
that she was n't sure she ought to let Adela go in alone ; 
but this young lady took herself throughout for a hero- 
ine, and it was n't in a heroine to shrink from any en- 
counter. Wasn't she every instant in transcendent 
contact with her mother ? The visitor might have no 
connexion whatever with the drama of her father's 
frustrated marriage; but everything to-day for Adela 
was part of that. 

Miss Flynn's description had prepared her for a 
considerable shock, but she was n't agitated by her 
first glimpse of the person who awaited her. A young- 
ish well-dressed woman stood there, and silence was 
between them while they looked at each other. Before 

292 



THE MARRIAGES 

either had spoken however Adela began to see what 
Miss Flynn had intended. In the light of the drawing- 
room window the lady was five-and-thirty years of age 
and had vivid yellow hair. She also had a blue cloth 
suit with brass buttons, a stick-up collar like a gentle- 
man's, a necktie arranged in a sailor's knot, a golden 
pin in the shape of a little lawn-tennis racket, and 
pearl-grey gloves with big black stitchings. Adela's 
second impression was that she was an actress, and her 
third that no such person had ever before crossed that 
threshold. 

"I'll tell you what I've come for," said the ap- 
parition. "I've come to ask you to intercede." She 
wasn't an actress; an actress would have had a nicer 
voice. 

"To intercede ?" Adela was too bewildered to ask 
her to sit down. 

"With your father, you know. He does n't know, 
but he'll have to." Her "have" sounded like "'ave." 
She explained, with many more such sounds, that she 
was Mrs. Godfrey, that they had been married seven 
mortal months. If Godfrey was going abroad she 
must go with him, and the only way she could go with 
him would be for his father to do something. He was 
afraid of his father that was clear; he was afraid 
even to tell him. What she had come down for was to 
see some other member of the family face to face 
"fice to fice" Mrs. Godfrey called it and try if he 
could n't be approached by another side. If no one 
else would act then she would just have to act herself. 
The Colonel would have to do something that was 
the only way out of it. 

293 



THE MARRIAGES 

What really happened Adela never quite under- 
stood; what seemed to be happening was that the 
room went round and round. Through the blur of per- 
ception accompanying this effect the sharp stabs of her 
visitor's revelation came to her like the words heard by 
a patient "going off" under ether. She afterwards 
denied passionately even to herself that she had done 
anything so abject as to faint; but there was a lapse in 
her consciousness on the score of Miss Flynn's inter- 
vention. This intervention had evidently been active, 
for when they talked the matter over, later in the day, 
with bated breath and infinite dissimulation for the 
school-room quarter, the governess had more lurid 
truths, and still more, to impart than to receive. She 
was at any rate under the impression that she had 
athletically contended, in the drawing-room, with the 
yellow hair this after removing Adela from the 
scene and before inducing Mrs. Godfrey to withdraw. 
Miss Flynn had never known a more thrilling day, for 
all the rest of it too was pervaded with agitations and 
conversations, precautions and alarms. It was given 
out to Beatrice and Muriel that their sister had been 
taken suddenly ill, and the governess ministered to her 
in her room. Indeed Adela had never found herself 
less at ease, for this time she had received a blow that 
she could n't return. There was nothing to do but to 
take it, to endure the humiliation of her wound. 

At first she declined to take it having, as might 
appear, the much more attractive resource of regard- 
ing her visitant as a mere masquerading person, an 
impudent impostor. On the face of the matter more- 
over it was n't fair to believe till one heard; and to 

294 



THE MARRIAGES 

hear in such a case was to hear Godfrey himself. 
Whatever she had tried to imagine about him she 
had n't arrived at anything so belittling as an idiotic 
secret marriage with a dyed and painted hag. Adela 
repeated this last word as if it gave her comfort; and 
indeed where everything was so bad fifteen years of 
seniority made the case little worse. Miss Flynn was 
portentous, for Miss Flynn had had it out with the 
wretch. She had cross-questioned her and had not 
broken her down. This was the most uplifted hour of 
Miss Flynn's life; for whereas she usually had to con- 
tent herself with being humbly and gloomily in the 
right she could now be magnanimously and showily 
so. Her only perplexity was as to what she ought to do 
write to Colonel Chart or go up to town to see him. 
She bloomed with alternatives she resembled some 
dull garden-path which under a copious downpour has 
begun to flaunt with colour. Toward evening Adela 
was obliged to recognise that her brother's worry, of 
which he had spoken to her, had appeared bad 
enough to consist even of a low wife, and to remember 
that, so far from its being inconceivable a young man 
in his position should clandestinely take one, she had 
been present, years before, during her mother's life- 
time, when Lady Molesley declared gaily, over a cup 
of tea, that this was precisely what she expected of her 
eldest son. The next morning it was the worst possi- 
bilities that seemed clearest; the only thing left with a 
tatter of dusky comfort being the ambiguity of God- 
frey's charge that her own action had "done " for him. 
That was a matter by itself, and she racked her brains 
for a connecting link between Mrs. Churchley and 

295 



THE MARRIAGES 

Mrs. Godfrey. At last she made up her mind that they 
were related by blood; very likely, though differing in 
fortune, they were cousins or even sisters. But even 
then what did the wretched boy mean ? 

Arrested by the unnatural fascination of opportun- 
ity, Miss Flynn received before lunch a telegram from 
Colonel Chart an order for dinner and a vehicle; he 
and Godfrey were to arrive at six o'clock. Adela had 
plenty of occupation for the interval, since she was 
phying her father when she was n't rejoicing that her 
mother had gone too soon to know. She flattered her- 
self she made out the providential reason of that 
cruelty now. She found time however still to wonder 
for what purpose, given the situation, Godfrey was to 
be brought down. She was n't unconscious indeed 
that she had little general knowledge of what usually 
was done with young men in that predicament. One 
talked about the situation, but the situation was an 
abyss. She felt this still more when she found, on her 
father's arrival, that nothing apparently was to hap- 
pen as she had taken for granted it would. There was 
an inviolable hush over the whole affair, but no 
tragedy, no publicity, nothing ugly. The tragedy had 
been in town the faces of the two men spoke of it 
in spite of their other perfunctory aspects; and at 
present there was only a family dinner, with Beatrice 
and Muriel and the governess with almost a com- 
pany tone too, the result of the desire to avoid pub- 
licity. Adela admired her father; she knew what he 
was feeling if Mrs. Godfrey had been at him, and yet 
she saw him positively gallant. He was mildly austere, 
or rather even what was it? august; just as, 

296 



THE MARRIAGES 

coldly equivocal, he never looked at his son, so that 
at moments he struck her as almost sick with sad- 
ness. Godfrey was equally inscrutable and therefore 
wholly different from what he had been as he stood 
before her in the park. If he was to start on his career 
(with such a wife ! would n't she utterly blight it ?) 
he was already professional enough to know how to 
wear a mask. 

Before they rose from table she felt herself wholly 
bewildered, so little were such large causes traceable 
in their effects. She had nerved herself for a great 
ordeal, but the air was as sweet as an anodyne. It was 
perfectly plain to her that her father was deadly sore 
as pathetic as a person betrayed. He was broken, but 
he showed no resentment; there was a weight on his 
heart, but he had lightened it by dressing as immacu- 
lately as usual for dinner. She asked herself what im- 
mensity of a row there could have been in town to have 
left his anger so spent. He went through everything, 
even to sitting with his son after dinner. When they 
came out together he invited Beatrice and Muriel to 
the billiard-room, and as Miss Flynn discreetly with- 
drew Adela was left alone with Godfrey, who was com- 
pletely changed and not now in the least of a rage. He 
was broken too, but not so pathetic as his father. He 
was only very correct and apologetic; he said to his 
sister : " I 'm awfully sorry you were annoyed it was 
something I never dreamed of." 

She could n't think immediately what he meant; 
then she grasped the reference to her extraordinary 
invader. She was uncertain, however, what tone to 
take; perhaps his father had arranged with him that 

297 



THE MARRIAGES 

they were to make the best of it. But she spoke her 
own despair in the way she murmured "Oh Godfrey, 
Godfrey, is it true ? " 

" I 've been the most unutterable donkey you can 
say what you like to me. You can't say anything 
worse than I 've said to myself." 

"My brother, my brother!" his words made her 
wail it out. He hushed her with a movement and she 
asked : "What has father said ?" 

He looked very high over her head. "He '11 give her 
six hundred a year." 

"Ah the angel!" it was too splendid. 

"On condition" Godfrey scarce blinked "she 
never comes near me. She has solemnly promised, 
and she '11 probably leave me alone to get the money. 
If she does n't in diplomacy I 'm lost." He had 
been turning his eyes vaguely about, this way and that, 
to avoid meeting hers; but after another instant he 
gave up the effort and she had the miserable confes- 
sion of his glance. " I 've been living in hell." 

"My brother, my brother!" she yearningly re- 
peated. 

" I 'm not an idiot ; yet for her I 've behaved like one. 
Don't ask me you must n't know. It was all done 
in a day, and since then fancy my condition; fancy 
my work in such a torment; fancy my coming through 
at all." 

"Thank God you passed!" she cried. "You were 
wonderful ! " 

"I 'd have shot myself if I had n't been. I had 
an awful day yesterday with the governor; it was late 
at night before it was over. I leave England next 

298 



THE MARRIAGES 

week. He brought me down here for it to look well 
so that the children shan't know/* 

"He's wonderful too!" Adela murmured. 

"Wonderful too!" Godfrey echoed. 

" Did she tell him ? " the girl went on. 

"She came straight to Seymour Street from here. 
She saw him alone first; then he called me in. That 
luxury lasted about an hour." 

"Poor, poor father!" Adela moaned at this; on 
which her brother remained silent. Then after he had 
alluded to it as the scene he had lived in terror of all 
through his cramming, and she had sighed forth again 
her pity and admiration for such a mixture of anxie- 
ties and such a triumph of talent, she pursued : "Have 
you told him ? " 

"Told him what?" 

"What you said you would what / did." 

Godfrey turned away as if at present he had very 
little interest in that inferior tribulation. " I was angry 
with you, but I cooled off. I held my tongue." 

She clasped her hands. " You thought of mamma ! " 

" Oh don't speak of mamma ! " he cried as in rueful 
tenderness. 

It was indeed not a happy moment, and she mur- 
mured: "No; if you had thought of her !" 

This made Godfrey face her again with a small 
flare in his eyes. "Oh then it didn't prevent. I 
thought that woman really good. I believed in 
her." 

"Is she wry bad?" 

"I shall never mention her to you again," he re- 
turned with dignity. 

299 



THE MARRIAGES 

"You may believe / won't speak of her! So father 
does n't know ? " the girl added. 

"Does n't know what ?" 

"That I said what I did to Mrs. Churchley." 

He had a momentary pause. "I don't think so, but 
you must find out for yourself." 

" I shall find out," said Adela. " But what had Mrs. 
Churchley to do with it ? " 

"With my misery? I told her. I had to tell some 
one/' 

"Why did n't you tell me?" 

He appeared though but after an instant to 
know exactly why. "Oh you take things so beastly 
hard you make such rows/' Adela covered her 
face with her hands and he went on : "What I wanted 
was comfort not to be lashed up. I thought I 
should go mad. I wanted Mrs. Churchley to break 
it to father, to intercede for me and help him to meet 
it. She was awfully kind to me, she listened and she 
understood; she could fancy how it had happened. 
Without her I should n't have pulled through. She 
liked me, you know," he further explained, and 
as if it were quite worth mentioning all the more 
that it was pleasant to him. "She said she 'd do what 
she could for me. She was full of sympathy and re- 
source. I really leaned on her. But when you cut in 
of course it spoiled everything. That 's why I was 
so furious with you. She could n't do anything 
then/' 

Adela dropped her hands, staring; she felt she 
had walked in darkness. "So that he had to meet it 
alone?" 

300 



THE MARRIAGES 

"Dame!" said Godfrey, who had got up his French 
tremendously. 

Muriel came to the door to say papa wished the two 
others to join them, and the next day Godfrey re- 
turned to town. His father remained at Brinton, 
without an intermission, the rest of the summer and 
the whole of the autumn, and Adela had a chance to 
find out, as she had said, whether he knew she had 
interfered. But in spite of her chance she never found 
out. He knew Mrs. Churchley had thrown him over 
and he knew his daughter rejoiced in it, but he ap- 
peared not to have divined the relation between the 
two facts. It was strange that one of the matters 
he was clearest about Adela's secret triumph 
should have been just the thing which from this time 
on justified less and less such a confidence. She was 
too sorry for him to be consistently glad. She watched 
his attempts to wind himself up on the subject of 
shorthorns and drainage, and she favoured to the 
utmost of her ability his intermittent disposition to 
make a figure in orchids. She wondered whether they 
might n't have a few people at Brinton; but when she 
mentioned the idea he asked what in the world there 
would be to attract them. It was a confoundedly 
stupid house, he remarked with all respect to her 
cleverness. Beatrice and Muriel were mystified; the 
prospect of going out immensely had faded so utterly 
away. They were apparently not to go out at all. 
Colonel Chart was aimless and bored ; he paced up 
and down and went back to smoking, which was bad 
for him, and looked drearily out of windows as if on 
the bare chance that something might arrive. Did 

301 



THE MARRIAGES 

he expect Mrs. Churchley to arrive, did he expect her 
to relent on finding she could n't live without him ? 
It was Adela's belief that she gave no sign. But the 
girl thought it really remarkable of her not to have 
betrayed her ingenious young visitor. Adela's judge- 
ment of human nature was perhaps harsh, but she 
believed that most women, given the various facts, 
would n't have been so forbearing. This lady's con- 
ception of the point of honour placed her there in a 
finer and purer light than had at all originally pro- 
mised to shine about her. 

She meanwhile herself could well judge how heavy 
her father found the burden of Godfrey's folly and 
how he was incommoded at having to pay the horrible 
woman six hundred a j r ear. Doubtless he was having 
dreadful letters from her; doubtless she threatened 
them all with hideous exposure. If the matter should 
be bruited Godfrey's prospects would collapse on 
the spot. He thought Madrid very charming and 
curious, but Mrs. Godfrey was in England, so that 
his father had to face the music. Adela took a dolor- 
ous comfort in her mother's being out of that it 
would have killed her; but this did n't blind her to 
the fact that the comfort for her father would perhaps 
have been greater if he had had some one to talk to 
about his trouble. He never dreamed of doing so to 
her, and she felt she could n't ask him. In the family 
life he wanted utter silence about it. Early in the 
winter he went abroad for ten weeks, leaving her with 
her sisters in the country, where it was not to be denied 
that at this time existence had very little savour. She 
half-expected her sister-in-law would again descend 

302 



THE MARRIAGES 

on her; but the fear was n't justified, and the quiet- 
ude of the awful creature seemed really to vibrate 
with the ring of gold-pieces. There were sure to be 
extras. Adela winced at the extras. Colonel Chart 
went to Paris and to Monte Carlo and then to Madrid 
to see his boy. His daughter had the vision of his 
perhaps meeting Mrs. Churchley somewhere, since, 
if she had gone for a year, she would still be on the 
Continent. If he should meet her perhaps the affair 
would come on again : she caught herself musing over 
this. But he brought back no such appearance, and, 
seeing him after an interval, she was struck afresh 
with his jilted and wasted air. She did n't like it 
she resented it. A little more and she would have said 
that that was no way to treat so faithful a man. 

They all went up to town in March, and on one of 
the first days of April she saw Mrs. Churchley in the 
Park. She herself remained apparently invisible to 
that lady she herself and Beatrice and Muriel, 
who sat with her in their mother's old bottle-green 
landau. Mrs. Churchley, perched higher than ever, 
rode by without a recognition; but this did n't prevent 
Adela's going to her before the month was over. As 
on her great previous occasion she went in the morn- 
ing, and she again had the good fortune to be ad- 
mitted. This time, however, her visit was shorter, 
and a week after making it the week was a deso- 
lation she addressed to her brother at Madrid 
a letter containing these words : " I could endure it 
no longer I confessed and retracted; I explained 
to her as well as I could the falsity of what I said 
to her ten months ago and the benighted purity of 

33 



THE MARRIAGES 

my motives for saying it. I besought her to regard 
it as unsaid, to forgive me, not to despise me too 
much, to take pity on poor perfect papa and come 
back to him. She was more good-natured than you 
might have expected indeed she laughed extrava- 
gantly. She had never believed me it was too 
absurd ; she had only, at the time, disliked me. She 
found me utterly false she was very frank with me 
about this and she told papa she really thought 
me horrid. She said she could never live with such 
a girl, and as I would certainly never marry I must 
be sent away in short she quite loathed me. Papa 
defended me, he refused to sacrifice me, and this 
led practically to their rupture. Papa gave her up, 
as it were, for me. Fancy the angel, and fancy what 
I must try to be to him for the rest of his life ! Mrs. 
Churchley can never come back she's going to 
marry Lord Dovedale." 



THE REAL THING 



THE REAL THING 
I 

WHEN the porter's wife, who used to answer the 
house-bell, announced "A gentleman and a lady, sir/' 
I had, as I often had in those days the wish being 
father to the thought an immediate vision of sitters. 
Sitters my visitors in this case proved to be; but not 
in the sense I should have preferred. There was 
nothing at first however to indicate that they might n't 
have come for a portrait. The gentleman, a man of 
fifty, very high and very straight, with a moustache 
slightly grizzled and a dark grey walking-coat admir- 
ably fitted, both of which I noted professionally 
I don't mean as a barber or yet as a tailor would 
have struck me as a celebrity if celebrities often were 
striking. It was a truth of which I had for some time 
been conscious that a figure with a good deal of front- 
age was, as one might say, almost never a public 
institution. A glance at the lady helped to remind me 
of this paradoxical law : she also looked too distin- 
guished to be a "personality." Moreover one would 
scarcely come across two variations together. 

Neither of the pair immediately spoke they only 
prolonged the preliminary gaze suggesting that each 
wished to give the other a chance. They were visibly 
shy; they stood there letting me take them in 
which, as I afterwards perceived, was the most prac- 

37 



THE REAL THING 

tical thing they could have done. In this way their 
embarrassment served their cause. I had seen people 
painfully reluctant to mention that they desired any- 
thing so gross as to be represented on canvas ; but the 
scruples of my new friends appeared almost insur- 
mountable. Yet the gentleman might have said "I 
should like a portrait of my wife," and the lady might 
have said "I should like a portrait of my husband/' 
Perhaps they were n't husband and wife this nat- 
urally would make the matter more delicate. Per- 
haps they wished to be done together in which case 
they ought to have brought a third person to break the 
news. 

"We come from Mr. Rivet," the lady finally said 
with a dim smile that had the effect of a moist sponge 
passed over a "sunk" piece of painting, as well as 
of a vague allusion to vanished beauty. She was as 
tall and straight, in her degree, as her companion, and 
with ten years less to carry. She looked as sad as a 
woman could look whose face was not charged with 
expression ; that is her tinted oval mask showed waste 
as an exposed surface shows friction. The hand of 
time had played over her freely, but to an effect of 
elimination. She was slim and stiff, and so well- 
dressed, in dark blue cloth, with lappets and pockets 
and buttons, that it was clear she employed the same 
tailor as her husband. The couple had an indefinable 
air of prosperous thrift they evidently got a good 
deal of luxury for their money. If I was to be one of 
their luxuries it would behove me to consider my 
terms. 

"Ah Claude Rivet recommended me?" I echoed; 
308 



THE REAL THING 

and I added that it was very kind of him, though I 
could reflect that, as he only painted landscape, this 
was n't a sacrifice. 

The lady looked very hard at the gentleman, and 
the gentleman looked round the room. Then staring 
at the floor a moment and stroking his moustache, 
he rested his pleasant eyes on me with the remark : 
"He said you were the right one/* 

" I try to be, when people want to sit." 

"Yes, we should like to/* said the lady anxiously. 

"Do you mean together ?" 

My visitors exchanged a glance. " If you could do 
anything with me I suppose it would be double," the 
gentleman stammered. 

"Oh yes, there's naturally a higher charge for two 
figures than for one." 

"We should like to make it pay," the husband con- 
fessed. 

"That's very good of you," I returned, appreciat- 
ing so unwonted a sympathy for I supposed he 
meant pay the artist. 

A sense of strangeness seemed to dawn on the lady. 
"We mean for the illustrations Mr. Rivet said you 
might put one in." 

"Put in an illustration?" I was equally con- 
fused. 

"Sketch her off, you know," said the gentleman, 
colouring. 

It was only then that I understood the service 
Claude Rivet had rendered me; he had told them how 
I worked in black-and-white, for magazines, for story- 
books, for sketches of contemporary life, and conse- 

39 



THE REAL THING 

quently had copious employment for models. These 
things were true, but it was not less true I may 
confess it now; whether because the aspiration was to 
lead to everything or to nothing I leave the reader 
to guess that I could n't get the honours, to say 
nothing of the emoluments, of a great painter of por- 
traits out of my head. My "illustrations 5 * were my 
pot-boilers; I looked to a different branch of art 
far and away the most interesting it had always 
seemed to me to perpetuate my fame. There was 
no shame in looking to it also to make my fortune; 
but that fortune was by so much further from being 
made from the moment my visitors wished to be 
"done" for nothing. I was disappointed; for in the 
pictorial sense I had immediately seen them. I had 
seized their type I had already settled what I would 
do with it. Something that would n't absolutely have 
pleased them, I afterwards reflected. 

"Ah you're you're a ?" I began as soon 
as I had mastered my surprise. I could n't bring out 
the dingy word "models " : it seemed so little to fit the 
case. 

"We haven't had much practice," said the lady. 

"We've got to do something, and we've thought 
that an artist in your line might perhaps make some- 
thing of us," her husband threw off. He further men- 
tioned that they did n't know many artists and that 
they had gone first, on the off-chance he painted 
views of course, but sometimes put in figures ; per- 
haps I remembered to Mr. Rivet, whom they had 
met a few years before at a place in Norfolk where 
he was sketching. 

310 



THE REAL THING 

"We used to sketch a little ourselves," the lady 
hinted. 

"It's very awkward, but we absolutely must do 
something/' her husband went on. 

"Of course we're not so very young," she admitted 
with a wan smile. 

With the remark that I might as well know some- 
thing more about them the husband had handed me 
a card extracted from a neat new pocket-book their 
appurtenances were all of the freshest and in- 
scribed with the words "Major Monarch." Impress- 
ive as these words were they did n't carry my know- 
ledge much further; but my visitor presently added: 
" I 've left the army and we 've had the misfortune to 
lose our money. In fact our means are dreadfully 
small." 

"It's awfully trying a regular strain," said Mrs. 
Monarch. 

They evidently wished to be discreet to take care 
not to swagger because they were gentlefolk. I felt 
them willing to recognise this as something of a draw- 
back, at the same time that I guessed at an underlying 
sense their consolation in adversity that they bad 
their points. They certainly had; but these advant- 
ages struck me as preponderantly social; such for 
instance as would help to make a drawing-room look 
well. However, a drawing-room was always, or ought 
to be, a picture. 

In consequence of his wife's allusion to their age 
Major Monarch observed: "Naturally it's more for 
the figure that we thought of going in. We can still 
hold ourselves up." On the instant I saw that the 

3 11 



THE REAL THING 

figure was indeed their strong point. His "naturally " 
did n't sound vain, but it lighted up the question. 
"She has the best one/' he continued, nodding at his 
wife with a pleasant after-dinner absence of circumlo- 
cution. I could only reply, as if we were in fact sitting 
over our wine, that this did n't prevent his own from 
being very good ; which led him in turn to make an- 
swer : "We thought that if you ever have to do people 
like us we might be something like it. She particularly 
for a lady in a book, you know/' 

I was so amused by them that, to get more of it, I 
did my best to take their point of view; and though it 
was an embarrassment to find myself appraising phy- 
sically, as if they were animals on hire or useful blacks, 
a pair whom I should have expected to meet only in 
one of the relations in which criticism is tacit, I looked 
at Mrs. Monarch judicially enough to be able to ex- 
claim after a moment with conviction : "Oh yes, a lady 
in a book ! " She was singularly like a bad illustration. 
"We'll stand up, if you like," said the Major; and 
he raised himself before me with a really grand air. 
I could take his measure at a glance he was six 
feet two and a perfect gentleman. It would have paid 
any club in process of formation and in want of a 
stamp to engage him at a salary to stand in the princi- 
pal window. What struck me at once was that in com- 
ing to me they had rather missed their vocation; they 
could surely have been turned to better account for 
advertising purposes. I could n't of course see the 
thing in detail, but I could see them make somebody's 
fortune I don't mean their own. There was some- 
thing in them for a waistcoat-maker, an hotel-keeper 

312 



THE REAL THING 

or a soap-vendor. I could imagine " We always use it " 
pinned on their bosoms with the greatest effect; I had 
a vision of the brilliancy with which they would launch 
a table d'hote. 

Mrs. Monarch sat still, not from pride but from 
shyness, and presently her husband said to her: "Get 
up, my dear, and show how smart you are/* She 
obeyed, but she had no need to get up to show it. She 
walked to the end of the studio and then came back 
blushing, her fluttered eyes on the partner of her ap- 
peal. I was reminded of an incident I had accidentally 
had a glimpse of in Paris being with a friend there, 
a dramatist about to produce a play, when an actress 
came to him to ask to be entrusted with a part. She 
went through her paces before him, walked up and 
down as Mrs. Monarch was doing. Mrs. Monarch did 
it quite as well, but I abstained from applauding. It 
was very odd to see such people apply for such poor 
pay. She looked as if she had ten thousand a year. 
Her husband had used the word that described her : 
she was in the London current jargon essentially and 
typically "smart." Her figure was, in the same order 
of ideas, conspicuously and irreproachably "good." 
For a woman of her age her waist was surprisingly 
small; her elbow moreover had the orthodox crook. 
She held her head at the conventional angle, but why 
did she come to me? She ought to have tried on jack- 
ets at a big shop. I feared my visitors were not only 
destitute but "artistic" which would be a great 
complication. When she sat down again I thanked 
her, observing that what a draughtsman most valued 
in his model was the faculty of keeping quiet. 

313 



THE REAL THING 

"Oh she can keep quiet/' said Major Monarch. 
Then he added jocosely: "I've always kept her 
quiet." 

"Fm not a nasty fidget, am I ?" It was going to 
wring tears from me, I felt, the way she hid her head, 
ostrich-like, in the other broad bosom. 

The owner of this expanse addressed his answer to 
me. " Perhaps it is n't out of place to mention be- 
cause we ought to be quite business-like, ought n't we ? 
that when I married her she was known as the 
Beautiful Statue/' 

"Oh dear!" said Mrs. Monarch ruefully. 
"Of course I should want a certain amount of 
expression," I rejoined. 

"Of course!" and I had never heard such unan- 
imity. 

"And then I suppose you know that you'll get 
awfully tired." 

"Oh we never get tired!" they eagerly cried. 
"Have you had any kind of practice?" 
They hesitated they looked at each other. 
"We've been photographed immensely" said Mrs. 
Monarch. 

" She means the fellows have asked us themselves," 
added the Major. 

" I see because you 're so good-looking." 
"I don't know what they thought, but they were 
always after us." 

"We always got our photographs for nothing," 
smiled Mrs. Monarch. 

"We might have brought some, my dear," her hus- 
band remarked. 

3H 



THE REAL THING 

" I 'm not sure we have any left. We Ve given quan- 
tities away," she explained to me. 

"With our autographs and that sort of thing," said 
the Major. 

"Are they to be got in the shops ? " I enquired as a 
harmless pleasantry. 

"Oh yes, hers they used to be." 

"Not now," said Mrs. Monarch with her eyes on 
the floor. 



II 

I COULD fancy the "sort of thing " they put on the pre- 
sentation copies of their photographs, and I was sure 
they wrote a beautiful hand. It was odd how quickly 
I was sure of everything that concerned them. If they 
were now so poor as to have to earn shillings and 
pence they could never have had much of a margin. 
Their good looks had been their capital, and they had 
good-humouredly made the most of the career that 
this resource marked out for them. It was in their 
faces, the blankness, the deep intellectual repose of the 
twenty years of country-house visiting that had given 
them pleasant intonations. I could see the sunny 
drawing-rooms, sprinkled with periodicals she did n't 
read, in which Mrs. Monarch had continuously sat; I 
could see the wet shrubberies in which she had walked, 
equipped to admiration for either exercise. I could see 
the rich covers the Major had helped to shoot and the 
wonderful garments in which, late at night, he repaired 
to the smoking-room to talk about them. I could im- 
agine their leggings and waterproofs, their knowing 
tweeds and rugs, their rolls of sticks and cases of 
tackle and neat umbrellas ; and I could evoke the exact 
appearance of their servants and the compact variety 
of their luggage on the platforms of country stations. 

They gave small tips, but they were liked; they 
did n't do anything themselves, but they were wel- 
come. They looked so well everywhere; they gratified 

316 



THE REAL THING 

the general relish for stature, complexion and "form." 
They knew it without fatuity or vulgarity, and they 
respected themselves in consequence. They were n't 
superficial ; they were thorough and kept themselves 
up it had been their line. People with such a taste 
for activity had to have some line. I cotild feel how 
even in a dull house they could have been counted on 
for the joy of life. At present something had happened 

it did n't matter what, their little income had grown 
less, it had grown least and they had to do some- 
thing for pocket-money. Their friends could like 
them, I made out, without liking to support them. 
There was something about them that represented 
credit their clothes, their manners, their type; but 
if credit is a large empty pocket in which an occasional 
chink reverberates, the chink at least must be audible. 
What they wanted of me was to help to make it so. 
Fortunately they had no children I soon divined 
that. They would also perhaps wish our relations to 
be kept secret: this was why it was "for the figure" 

the reproduction of the face would betray them. 

I liked them I felt, quite as their friends must have 
done they were so simple; and I had no objection 
to them if they would suit. But somehow with all their 
perfections I did n't easily believe in them. After all 
they were amateurs, and the ruling passion of my life 
was the detestation of the amateur. Combined with 
this was another perversity an innate preference 
for the represented subject over the real one : the defect 
of the real one was so apt to be a lack of representa- 
tion. I liked things that appeared; then one was sure. 
Whether they were or not was a subordinate and 

317 



THE REAL THING 

almost always a profitless question. There were other 
considerations, the first of which was that I already 
had two or three recruits in use, notably a young per- 
son with big feet, in alpaca, from Kilburn, who for a 
couple of years had come to me regularly for my illus- 
trations and with whom I was still perhaps ignobly 
satisfied. I frankly explained to my visitors how the 
case stood, but they had taken more precautions than 
I supposed. They had reasoned out their opportun- 
ity, for Claude Rivet had told them of the projected 
edition de luxe of one of the writers of our day the 
rarest of the novelists who, long neglected by the 
multitudinous vulgar and dearly prized by the at- 
tentive (need I mention Philip Vincent?) had had 
the happy fortune of seeing, late in life, the dawn and 
then the full light of a higher criticism ; an estimate in 
which on the part of the public there was something 
really of expiation. The edition preparing, planned by 
a publisher of taste, was practically an act of high 
reparation; the wood-cuts with which it was to be en- 
riched were the homage of English art to one of the 
most independent representatives of English letters. 
Major and Mrs. Monarch confessed to me they had 
hoped I might be able to work them into my branch of 
the enterprise. They knew I was to do the first of the 
books, " Rutland Ramsay," but I had to make clear to 
them that my participation in the rest of the affair 
this first book was to be a test must depend on the 
satisfaction I should give. If this should be limited 
my employers would drop me with scarce common 
forms. It was therefore a crisis for me, and naturally I 
was making special preparations, looking about for 

318 



THE REAL THING 

new people, should they be necessary, and securing 
the best types. I admitted however that I should like 
to settle down to two or three good models who would 
do for everything. 

"Should we have often to a put on special 
clothes ? " Mrs. Monarch timidly demanded. 

" Dear yes that 's half the business." 

"And should we be expected to supply our own 
costumes ? " 

" Oh no ; I 've got a lot of things. A painter's models 
put on or put off anything he likes/ 5 

"And you mean a the same ? " 

"The same?" 

Mrs. Monarch looked at her husband again. 

"Oh she was just wondering," he explained, "if 
the costumes are in general use." I had to confess that 
they were, and I mentioned further that some of them 
I had a lot of genuine greasy last-century things 
had served their time, a hundred years ago, on living 
world-stained men and women ; on figures not perhaps 
so far removed, in that vanished world, from their 
type, the Monarchs', quoit of a breeched and be- 
wigged age. "We'll put on anything that fits" said 
the Major. 

"Oh I arrange that they fit in the pictures." 

"I'm afraid I should do better for the modern 
books. I 'd come as you like," said Mrs. Monarch. 

"She has got a lot of clothes at home : they might do 
for contemporary life," her husband continued. 

"Oh I can fancy scenes in which you'd be quite 
natural." And indeed I could see the slipshod rear- 
rangements of stale properties the stories I tried to 

319 



THE REAL THING 

produce pictures for without the exasperation of read- 
ing them whose sandy tracts the good lady might 
help to people. But I had to return to the fact that for 
this sort of work the daily mechanical grind I 
was already equipped : the people I was working with 
were fully adequate. 

"We only thought we might be more like some 
characters/' said Mrs. Monarch mildly, getting up. 

Her husband also rose; he stood looking at me with 
a dim wistfulness that was touching in so fine a man. 
"Would n't it be rather a pull sometimes to have 
a to have ?" He hung fire; he wanted me to 
help him by phrasing what he meant. But I could n't 

I did n't know. So he brought it out awkwardly: 
"The real thing; a gentleman, you know, or a lady.'* 
I was quite ready to give a general assent I admitted 
that there was a great deal in that. This encouraged 
Major Monarch to say, following up his appeal with 
an unacted gulp: "It's awfully hard we've tried 
everything." The gulp was communicative; it proved 
too much for his wife. Before I knew it Mrs. Monarch 
had dropped again upon a divan and burst into tears. 
Her husband sat down beside her, holding one of her 
hands; whereupon she quickly dried her eyes with the 
other, while I felt embarrassed as she looked up at me. 
"There is n't a confounded job I have n't applied for 

waited for prayed for. You can fancy we'd be 
pretty bad first. Secretaryships and that sort of thing ? 
You might as well ask for a peerage. I 'd be anything 

I 'm strong; a messenger or a coalheaver. I M put 
on a gold-laced cap and open carriage-doors in front of 
the haberdasher's; I'd hang about a station to carry 

320 



THE REAL THING 

portmanteaux; I'd be a postman. But they won't 
look at you; there are thousands as good as yourself 
already on the ground. Gentlemen, poor beggars, 
who 've drunk their wine, who *ve kept their hunters ! " 

I was as reassuring as I knew how to be, and my 
visitors were presently on their feet again while, for 
the experiment, we agreed on an hour. We were dis- 
cussing it when the door opened and Miss Churm 
came in with a wet umbrella. Miss Churm had to take 
the omnibus to Maida Vale and then walk half a mile. 
She looked a trifle blowsy and slightly splashed. I 
scarcely ever saw her come in without thinking afresh 
how odd it was that, being so little in herself, she 
should yet be so much in others. She was a meagre 
little Miss Churm, but was such an ample heroine of 
romance. She was only a freckled cockney, but she 
could represent everything, from a fine lady to a shep- 
herdess ; she had the faculty as she might have had a 
fine voice or long hair. She could n't spell and she 
loved beer, but she had two or three "points," and 
practice, and a knack, and mother-wit, and a whimsi- 
cal sensibility, and a love of the theatre, and seven sis- 
ters, and not an ounce of respect, especially for the h. 
The first thing my visitors saw was that her umbrella 
was wet, and in their spotless perfection they visibly 
winced at it. The rain had come on since their arrival. 

"I'm all in a soak; there was a mess of people in 
the 'bus. I wish you lived near a stytion," said Miss 
Churm. I requested her to get ready as quickly as 
possible, and she passed into the room in which she 
always changed her dress. But before going out she 
asked me what she was to get into this time. 

321 



THE REAL THING 

"It's the Russian princess, don't you know?" I 
answered; "the one with the 'golden eyes/ in black 
velvet, for the long thing in the Cheapside" 

"Golden eyes ? I say I" cried Miss Churm, while 
my companions watched her with intensity as she 
withdrew. She always arranged herself, when she was 
late, before I could turn round ; and I kept my visitors 
a little on purpose, so that they might get an idea, 
from seeing her, what would be expected of themselves. 
I mentioned that she was quite my notion of an excel- 
lent model she was really very clever. 

" Do you think she looks like a Russian princess ? " 
Major Monarch asked with lurking alarm. 

"When I make her, yes." 

"Oh if you have to make her !" he reasoned, not 
without point. 

"That's the most you can ask. There are so many 
who are not makeable." 

" Well now, here 9 s a lady " and with a persuasive 
smile he passed his arm into his wife's "who's 
already made ! " 

"Oh I'm not a Russian princess," Mrs. Monarch 
protested a little coldly. I could see she had known 
some and did n't like them. There at once was a com- 
plication of a kind I never had to fear with Miss 
Churm. 

This young lady came back in black velvet the 
gown was rather rusty and very low on her lean shoul- 
ders and with a Japanese fan in her red hands. I 
reminded her that in the scene I was doing she had to 
look over some one's head. " I forget whose it is ; but 
it does n't matter. Just look over a head." 



THE REAL THING 

"I'd rather look over a stove," said Miss Churm; 
and she took her station near the fire. She fell into 
position, settled herself into a tall attitude, gave a cer- 
tain backward inclination to her head and a certain 
forward droop to her fan, and looked, at least to my 
prejudiced sense, distinguished and charming, foreign 
and dangerous. We left her looking so while I went 
downstairs with Major and Mrs. Monarch. 

" I believe I could come about as near it as that," 
said Mrs. Monarch. 

"Oh you think she's shabby, but you must allow 
for the alchemy of art." 

However, they went off with an evident increase of 
comfort founded on their demonstrable advantage in 
being the real thing. I could fancy them shuddering 
over Miss Churm. She was very droll about them 
when I went back, for I told her what they wanted. 

"Well, if she can sit I '11 tyke to bookkeeping," said 
my model. 

"She's very ladylike," I replied as an innocent 
form of aggravation. 

"So much the worse for you. That means she can't 
turn round." 

"She'll do for the fashionable novels." 

"Oh yes, she'll Jo for them!" my model humor- 
ously declared. "Ain't they bad enough without 
her ? " I had often sociably denounced them to Miss 
Churm. 



Ill 

IT was for the elucidation of a mystery in one of these 
works that I first tried Mrs. Monarch. Her husband 
came with her, to be useful if necessary it was suffi- 
ciently clear that as a general thing he would prefer to 
come with her. At first I wondered if this were for 
" propriety *s" sake if he were going to be jealous 
and meddling. The idea was too tiresome, and if it 
had been confirmed it would speedily have brought 
our acquaintance to a close. But I soon saw there was 
nothing in it and that if he accompanied Mrs. Mon- 
arch it was in addition to the chance of being 
wanted simply because he had nothing else to do. 
When they were separate his occupation was gone 
and they never bad been separate. I judged rightly 
that in their awkward situation their close union was 
their main comfort and that this union had no weak 
spot. It was a real marriage, an encouragement to the 
hesitating, a nut for pessimists to crack. Their ad- 
dress was humble I remember afterwards thinking 
it had been the only thing about them that was really 
professional and I could fancy the lamentable 
lodgings in which the Major would have been left 
alone. He could sit there more or less grimly with his 
wife he could n't sit there anyhow without her. 

He had too much tact to try and make himself 
agreeable when he could n't be useful; so when I was 
too absorbed in my work to talk he simply sat and 



THE REAL THING 

waited. But I liked to hear him talk it made my 
work, when not interrupting it, less mechanical, less 
special. To listen to him was to combine the excite- 
ment of going out with the economy of staying at 
home. There was only one hindrance that I 
seemed not to know any of the people this brilliant 
couple had known. I think he wondered extremely, 
during the term of our intercourse, whom the deuce I 
did know. He had n't a stray sixpence of an idea to 
fumble for, so we did n't spin it very fine; we confined 
ourselves to questions of leather and even of liquor 
saddlers and breeches-makers and how to get excel- 
lent claret cheap and matters like "good trains" 
and the habits of small game. His lore on these last 
subjects was astonishing he managed to interweave 
the station-master with the ornithologist. When he 
could n't talk about greater things he could talk cheer- 
fully about smaller, and since I could n't accompany 
him into reminiscences of the fashionable world he 
could lower the conversation without a visible effort 
to my level. 

So earnest a desire to please was touching in a man 
who could so easily have knocked one down. He 
looked after the fire and had an opinion on the 
draught of the stove without my asking him, and I 
could see that he thought many of my arrangements 
not half knowing. I remember telling him that if I 
were only rich I'd offer him a salary to come and 
teach me how to live. Sometimes he gave a random 
sigh of which the essence might have been : " Give me 
even such a bare old barrack as this, and I 'd do some- 
thing with it!" When I wanted to use him he came 

3*5 



THE REAL THING 

alone; which was an illustration of the superior cour- 
age of women. His wife could bear her solitary second 
floor, and she was in general more discreet ; showing 
by various small reserves that she was alive to the 
propriety of keeping our relations markedly profes- 
sional not letting them slide into sociability. She 
wished it to remain clear that she and the Major were 
employed, not cultivated, and if she approved of me as 
a superior, who could be kept in his place, she never 
thought me quite good enough for an equal. 

She sat with great intensity, giving the whole of her 
mind to it, and was capable of remaining for an hour 
almost as motionless as before a photographer's lens. 
I could see she had been photographed often, but 
somehow the very habit that made her good for that 
purpose unfitted her for mine. At first I was ex- 
tremely pleased with her ladylike air, and it was a 
satisfaction, on coming to follow her lines, to see how 
good they were and how far they could lead the pencil. 
But after a little skirmishing I began to find her too 
insurmountably stiff; do what I would with it my 
drawing looked like a photograph or a copy of a photo- 
graph. Her figure had no variety of expression she 
herself had no sense of variety. You may say that this 
was my business and was only a question of placing 
her. Yet I placed her in every conceivable position 
and she managed to obliterate their differences. She 
was always a lady certainly, and into the bargain was 
always the same lady. She was the real thing, but 
always the same thing. There were moments when I 
rather writhed under the serenity of her confidence 
that she was the real thing. Ail her dealings with me 

326 



THE REAL THING 

and all her husband's were an implication that this 
was lucky for me. Meanwhile I found myself trying to 
invent types that approached her own, instead of mak- 
ing her own transform itself in the clever way that 
was not impossible for instance to poor Miss Churm. 
Arrange as I would and take the precautions I would, 
she always came out, in my pictures, too tall land- 
ing me in the dilemma of having represented a fascin- 
ating woman as seven feet high, which (out of respect 
perhaps to my own very much scantier inches) was far 
from my idea of such a personage. 

The case was worse with the Major nothing I 
could do would keep him down, so that he became 
useful only for the representation of brawny giants. 
I adored variety and range, I cherished human acci- 
dents, the illustrative note; I wanted to characterise 
closely, and the thing in the world I most hated was 
the danger of being ridden by a type. I had quar- 
relled with some of my friends about it; I had parted 
company with them for maintaining that one bad to 
be, and that if the type was beautiful witness 
Raphael and Leonardo the servitude was only a 
gain. I was neither Leonardo nor Raphael I might 
only be a presumptuous young modern searcher; but 
I held that everything was to be sacrificed sooner than 
character. When they claimed that the obsessional 
form could easily be character I retorted, perhaps 
superficially, "Whose ?" It could n't be everybody's 
it might end in being nobody's. 

After I had drawn Mrs. Monarch a dozen times I 
felt surer even than before that the value of such a 
model as Miss Churm resided precisely in the fact 

327 



THE REAL THING 

that she had no positive stamp, combined of course 
with the other fact that what she did have was a curi- 
ous and inexplicable talent for imitation. Her usual 
appearance was like a curtain which she could draw 
up at request for a capital performance. This per- 
formance was simply suggestive; but it was a word to 
the wise it was vivid and pretty. Sometimes even I 
thought it, though she was plain herself, too insipidly 
pretty; I made it a reproach to her that the figures 
drawn from her were monotonously (betement, as we 
used to say) graceful. Nothing made her more angry : 
it was so much her pride to feel she could sit for char- 
acters that had nothing in common with each other. 
She would accuse me at such moments of taking away 
her "reputytion." 

It suffered a certain shrinkage, this queer quantity, 
from the repeated visits of my new friends. Miss 
Churm was greatly in demand, never in want of em- 
ployment, so I had no scruple in putting her off occa- 
sionally, to try them more at my ease. It was certainly 
amusing at first to do the real thing it was amusing 
to do Major Monarch's trousers. They were the real 
thing, even if he did come out colossal. It was amus- 
ing to do his wife's back hair it was so mathematic- 
ally neat and the particular "smart" tension of 
her tight stays. She lent herself especially to positions 
in which the face was somewhat averted or blurred ; 
she abounded in ladylike back views and profits 
ferdus. When she stood erect she took naturally one 
of the attitudes in which court-painters represent 
queens and princesses; so that I found myself wonder- 
ing whether, to draw out this accomplishment, I 

3*8 



THE REAL THING 

could n't get the editor of the Cheapside to publish a 
really royal romance, "A Tale of Buckingham Pal- 
ace/* Sometimes however the real thing and the 
make-believe came into contact; by which I mean that 
Miss Churm, keeping an appointment or coming to 
make one on days when I had much work in hand, 
encountered her invidious rivals. The encounter was 
not on their part, for they noticed her no more than 
if she had been the housemaid ; not from intentional 
loftiness, but simply because as yet, professionally, 
they did n't know how to fraternise, as I could imag- 
ine they would have liked or at least that the Major 
would. They could n't talk about the omnibus they 
always walked; and they did n't know what else to 
try she was n't interested in good trains or cheap 
claret. Besides, they must have felt in the air 
that she was amused at them, secretly derisive of their 
ever knowing how. She was n't a person to conceal the 
limits of her faith if she had had a chance to show 
them. On the other hand Mrs. Monarch did n't think 
her tidy; for why else did she take pains to say to me 
it was going out of the way, for Mrs. Monarch 
that she did n't like dirty women ? 

One day when my young lady happened to be pre- 
sent with my other sitters she even dropped in, 
when it was convenient, for a chat I asked her to be 
so good as to lend a hand in getting tea, a service with 
which she was familiar and which was one of a class 
that, living as I did in a small way, with slender do- 
mestic resources, I often appealed to my models to 
render. They liked to lay hands on my property, to 
break the sitting, and sometimes the china it made 

3*9 



THE REAL THING 

them feel Bohemian. The next time I saw Miss 
Churm after this incident she surprised me greatly 
by making a scene about it she accused me of hav- 
ing wished to humiliate her. She had n't resented the 
outrage at the time, but had seemed obliging and 
amused, enjoying the comedy of asking Mrs. Mon- 
arch, who sat vague and silent, whether she would 
have cream and sugar, and putting an exaggerated 
simper into the question. She had tried intonations 
as if she too wished to pass for the real thing till I 
was afraid my other visitors would take offence. 

Oh they were determined not to do this, and their 
touching patience was the measure of their great need. 
They would sit by the hour, uncomplaining, till I was 
ready to use them; they would come back on the 
chance of being wanted and would walk away cheer- 
fully if it failed. I used to go to the door with them to 
see in what magnificent order they retreated. I tried 
to find other employment for them I introduced 
them to several artists. But they did n't "take," for 
reasons I could appreciate, and I became rather 
anxiously aware that after such disappointments they 
fell back upon me with a heavier weight. They did me 
the honour to think me most their form. They were n't 
romantic enough for the painters, and in those days 
there were few serious workers in black-and-white. 
Besides, they had an eye to the great job I had men- 
tioned to them they had secretly set their hearts on 
supplying the right essence for my pictorial vindica- 
tion of our fine novelist. They knew that for this 
undertaking I should want no costume-effects, none of 
the frippery of past ages that it was a case in which 

330 



THE REAL THING 

everything would be contemporary and satirical and 
presumably genteel. If I could work them into it their 
future would be assured, for the labour would of course 
be long and the occupation steady. 

One day Mrs. Monarch came without her husband 
she explained his absence by his having had to go 
to the City. While she sat there in her usual relaxed 
majesty there came at the door a knock which I im- 
mediately recognised as the subdued appeal of a 
model out of work. It was followed by the entrance 
of a young man whom I at once saw to be a foreigner 
and who proved in fact an Italian acquainted with no 
English word but my name, which he uttered in a way 
that made it seem to include all others. I had n't then 
visited his country, nor was I proficient in his tongue; 
but as he was not so meanly constituted what Ital- 
ian is ? as to depend only on that member for ex- 
pression he conveyed to me, in familiar but graceful 
mimicry, that he was in search of exactly the employ- 
ment in which the lady before me was engaged. I was 
not struck with him at first, and while I continued to 
draw I dropped few signs of interest or encourage- 
ment. He stood his ground however not import- 
unately, but with a dumb dog-like fidelity in his eyes 
that amounted to innocent impudence, the manner 
of a devoted servant he might have been in the 
house for years unjustly suspected. Suddenly it 
struck me that this very attitude and expression made 
a picture; whereupon I told him to sit down and wait 
till I should be free. There was another picture in the 
way he obeyed me, and I observed as I worked that 
there were others still in the way he looked wonder- 

331 



THE REAL THING 

ingly, with his head thrown back, about the high 
studio. He might have been crossing himself in 
Saint Peter's. Before I finished I said to myself 
"The fellow's a bankrupt orange-monger, but a 



treasure." 



When Mrs. Monarch withdrew he passed across 
the room like a flash to open the door for her, stand- 
ing there with the rapt pure gaze of the young Dante 
spellbound by the young Beatrice. As I never insisted, 
in such situations, on the blankness of the British 
domestic, I reflected that he had the making of a 
servant and I needed one, but could n't pay him 
to be only that as well as of a model; in short I 
resolved to adopt my bright adventurer if he would 
agree to officiate in the double capacity. He jumped 
at my offer, and in the event my rashness for I had 
really known nothing about him was n't brought 
home to me. He proved a sympathetic though a de- 
sultory ministrant, and had in a wonderful degree 
the sentiment de la pose. It was uncultivated, instinct- 
ive, a part of the happy instinct that had guided him 
to my door and helped him to spell out my name on 
the card nailed to it. He had had no other introduc- 
tion to me than a guess, from the shape of my high 
north window, seen outside, that my place was a 
studio and that as a studio it would contain an artist. 
He had wandered to England in search of fortune, 
like other itinerants, and had embarked, with a part- 
ner and a small green hand-cart, on the sale of penny 
ices. The ices had melted away and the partner had 
dissolved in their train. My young man wore tight 
yellow trousers with reddish stripes and his name was 

332 



THE REAL THING 

Oronte. He was sallow but fair, and when I put him 
into some old clothes of my own he looked like an 
Englishman. He was as good as Miss Churm, who 
could look, when requested, like an Italian. 



IV 

I THOUGHT Mrs. Monarch's face slightly convulsed 
when, on her coming back with her husband, she 
found Oronte installed. It was strange to have to 
recognise in a scrap of a lazzarone a competitor to 
her magnificent Major. It was she who scented 
danger first, for the Major was anecdotically uncon- 
scious. But Oronte gave us tea, with a hundred 
eager confusions he had never been concerned in 
so queer a process and I think she thought better 
of me for having at last an "establishment." They 
saw a couple of drawings that I had made of the estab- 
lishment, and Mrs. Monarch hinted that it never 
would have struck her he had sat for them. "Now 
the drawings you make from us, they look exactly 
like us," she reminded me, smiling in triumph; and 
I recognised that this was indeed just their defect. 
When I drew the Monarchs I could n't anyhow get 
away from them get into the character I wanted to 
represent; and I hadn't the least desire my model 
should be discoverable in my picture. Miss Churm 
never was, and Mrs. Monarch thought I hid her, 
very properly, because she was vulgar; whereas if 
she was lost it was only as the dead who go to heaven 
are lost in the gain of an angel the more. 

By this time I had got a certain start with "Rut- 
land Ramsay," the first novel in the great projected 
series; that is I had produced a dozen drawings, sev- 

334 



THE REAL THING 

eral with the help of the Major and his wife, and I 
had sent them in for approval. My understanding 
with the publishers, as I have already hinted, had 
been that I was to be left to do my work, in this 
particular case, as I liked, with the whole book com- 
mitted to me; but my connexion with the rest of the 
series was only contingent. There were moments 
when, frankly, it was a comfort to have the real thing 
under one's hand; for there were characters in "Rut- 
land Ramsay" that were very much like it. There 
were people presumably as erect as the Major and 
women of as good a fashion as Mrs. Monarch. There 
was a great deal of country-house life treated, it 
is true, in a fine fanciful ironical generalised way 
and there was a considerable implication of knicker- 
bockers and kilts. There were certain things I had 
to settle at the outset; such things for instance as the 
exact appearance of the hero and the particular 
bloom and figure of the heroine. The author of course 
gave me a lead, but there was a margin for interpreta- 
tion. I took the Monarchs into my confidence, I told 
them frankly what I was about, I mentioned my 
embarrassments and alternatives. "OhtakeA/W" 
Mrs. Monarch murmured sweetly, looking at her 
husband; and "What could you want better than 
my wife ?" the Major enquired with the comfortable 
candour that now prevailed between us. 

I was n't obliged to answer these remarks I was 
only obliged to place my sitters. I was n't easy in 
mind, and I postponed a little timidly perhaps the 
solving of my question. The book was a large can- 
vas, the other figures were numerous, and I worked 

335 



THE REAL THING 

off at first some of the episodes in which the hero 
and the heroine were not concerned. When once I 
had set them up I should have to stick to them I 
could n't make my young man seven feet high in one 
place and five feet nine in another. I inclined on the 
whole to the latter measurement, though the Major 
more than once reminded me that he looked about as 
young as any one. It was indeed quite possible to 
arrange him, for the figure, so that it would have 
been difficult to detect his age. After the spontane- 
ous Oronte had been with me a month, and after I 
had given him to understand several times over that 
his native exuberance would presently constitute an 
insurmountable barrier to our further intercourse, I 
waked to a sense of his heroic capacity. He was only 
five feet seven, but the remaining inches were latent. 
I tried him almost secretly at first, for I was really 
rather afraid of the judgement my other models 
would pass on such a choice. If they regarded Miss 
Churm as little better than a snare what would they 
think of the representation by a person so little the 
real thing as an Italian street- vendor of a protagonist 
formed by a public school ? 

If I went a little in fear of them it was n't because 
they bullied me, because they had got an oppressive 
foothold, but because in their really pathetic decorum 
and mysteriously permanent newness they counted 
on me so intensely. I was therefore very glad when 
Jack Hawley came home: he was always of such 
good counsel. He painted badly himself, but there 
was no one like him for putting his finger on the place. 
He had been absent from England for a year; he had 

336 



THE REAL THING 

been somewhere I don't remember where to 
get a fresh eye. I was in a good deal of dread of any 
such organ, but we were old friends; he had been 
away for months and a sense of emptiness was creep- 
ing into my life. I had n't dodged a missile for a year. 

He came back with a fresh eye, but with the same 
old black velvet blouse, and the first evening he spent 
in my studio we smoked cigarettes till the small 
hours. He had done no work himself, he had only 
got the eye; so the field was clear for the production 
of my little things. He wanted to see what I had 
produced for the Cheapside, but he was disappointed 
in the exhibition. That at least seemed the mean- 
ing of two or three comprehensive groans which, as 
he lounged on my big divan, his leg folded under 
him, looking at my latest drawings, issued from his 
lips with the smoke of the cigarette. 

"What's the matter with you?" I asked. 

"What's the matter with you ?" 

"Nothing save that I'm mystified." 

"You are indeed. You're quite off the hinge. 
What 's the meaning of this new fad ? " And he tossed 
me, with visible irreverence, a drawing in which I 
happened to have depicted both my elegant models. 
I asked if he did n't think it good, and he replied that 
it struck him as execrable, given the sort of thing I had 
always represented myself to him as wishing to arrive 
at; but I let that pass I was so anxious to see 
exactly what he meant. The two figures in the picture 
looked colossal, but I supposed this was not what he 
meant, inasmuch as, for aught he knew to the con- 
trary, I might have been trying for some such effect. 

337 



THE REAL THING 

I maintained that I was working exactly in the same 
way as when he last had done me the honour to tell 
me I might do something some day. "Well, there's 
a screw loose somewhere," he answered; "wait a bit 
and I 'II discover it." I depended upon him to do so : 
where else was the fresh eye ? But he produced at last 
nothing more luminous than " I don't know I don't 
like your types." This was lame for a critic who had 
never consented to discuss with me anything but the 
question of execution, the direction of strokes and 
the mystery of values. 

"In the drawings you've been looking at I think 
my types are very handsome." 
"Oh they won't do!" 
" I 've been working with new models." 
"I see you have. They won't do." 
"Are you very sure of that ?" 
"Absolutely they 're stupid." 
"You mean /am for I ought to get round that." 
"You cant with such people. Who are they?" 
I told him, so far as was necessary, and he con- 
cluded heartlessly : " Ce sont des gens qu'il faut mettre 
a la porte." 

"You've never seen them; they're awfully good" 
I flew to their defence. 

"Not seen them? Why all this recent work of 
yours drops to pieces with them. It's all I want to 
see of them." 

"No one else has said anything against it the 
Cheapside people are pleased." 

"Every one else is an ass, and the Cheapside people 
the biggest asses of all Come, don't pretend at this 

338 



THE REAL THING 

time of day to have pretty illusions about the public, 
especially about publishers and editors. It's not for 
such animals you work it's for those who know, 
coloro che sanno; so keep straight for me if you can't 
keep straight for yourself. There was a certain sort 
of thing you used to try for and a very good thing 
it was. But this twaddle is n't in it." When I talked 
with Hawley later about " Rutland Ramsay " and its 
possible successors he declared that I must get back 
into my boat again or I should go to the bottom. His 
voice in short was the voice of warning. 

I noted the warning, but I did n't turn my friends 
out of doors. They bored me a good deal ; but the 
very fact that they bored me admonished me not to 
sacrifice them if there was anything to be done 
with them simply to irritation. As I look back at 
this phase they seem to me to have pervaded my life 
not a little. I have a vision of them as most of the time 
in my studio, seated against the wall on an old velvet 
bench to be out of the way, and resembling the while 
a pair of patient courtiers in a royal ante-chamber. 
I'm convinced that during the coldest weeks of the 
winter they held their ground because it saved them 
fire. Their newness was losing its gloss, and it was 
impossible not to feel them objects of charity. When- 
ever Miss Churm arrived they went away, and after 
I was fairly launched in "Rutland Ramsay" Miss 
Churm arrived pretty often. They managed to express 
to me tacitly that they supposed I wanted her for the 
low life of the book, and I let them suppose it, since 
they had attempted to study the work it was lying 
about the studio without discovering that it dealt 

339 



THE REAL THING 

only with the highest circles. They had dipped into 
the most brilliant of our novelists without deciphering 
many passages. I still took an hour from them, now 
and again, in spite of Jack Hawley's warning: it 
would be time enough to dismiss them, if dismissal 
should be necessary, when the rigour of the season 
was over. Hawley had made their acquaintance he 
had met them at my fireside and thought them 
a ridiculous pair. Learning that he was a painter 
they tried to approach him, to show him too that they 
were the real thing; but he looked at them, across the 
big room, as if they were miles away : they were a 
compendium of everything he most objected to in the 
social system of his country. Such people as that, all 
convention and patent-leather, with ejaculations that 
stopped conversation, had no business in a studio. 
A studio was a place to learn to see, and how could 
you see through a pair of feather-beds ? 

The main inconvenience I suffered at their hands 
was that at first I was shy of letting it break upon them 
that my artful little servant had begun to sit to me for 
"Rutland Ramsay." They knew I had been odd 
enough they were prepared by this time to allow 
oddity to artists to pick a foreign vagabond out 
of the streets when I might have had a person with 
whiskers and credentials ; but it was some time before 
they learned how high I rated his accomplishments. 
They found him in an attitude more than once, but 
they never doubted I was doing him as an organ- 
grinder. There were several things they never guessed, 
and one of them was that for a striking scene in the 
novel, in which a footman briefly figured, it occurred 

340 



THE REAL THING 

to me to make use of Major Monarch as the menial. 
I kept putting this off, I did n't like to ask him to don 
the livery besides the difficulty of finding a livery 
to fit him* At last, one day late in the winter, when 
I was at work on the despised Oronte, who caught 
one's idea on the wing, and was in the glow of feeling 
myself go very straight, they came in, the Major and 
his wife, with their society laugh about nothing (there 
was less and less to laugh at) ; came in like country- 
callers they always reminded me of that who 
have walked across the park after church and are 
presently persuaded to stay to luncheon. Luncheon 
was over, but they could stay to tea I knew they 
wanted it. The fit was on me, however, and I could n't 
let my ardour cool and my work wait, with the fading 
daylight, while my model prepared it. So I asked Mrs. 
Monarch if she would mind laying it out a request 
which for an instant brought all the blood to her face. 
Her eyes were on her husband's for a second, and 
some mute telegraphy passed between them. Their 
folly was over the next instant; his cheerful shrewd- 
ness put an end to it. So far from pitying their 
wounded pride, I must add, I was moved to give it 
as complete a lesson as I could. They bustled about 
together and got out the cups and saucers and made 
the kettle boil. I know they felt as if they were wait- 
ing on my servant, and when the tea was prepared I 
said : "He '11 have a cup, please he *s tired." Mrs. 
Monarch brought him one where he stood, and he 
took it from her as if he had been a gentleman at a 
party squeezing a crush-hat with an elbow. 
Then it came over me that she had made a great 
341 



THE REAL THING 

effort for me made it with a kind of nobleness 
and that I owed her a compensation. Each time I 
saw her after this I wondered what the compensation 
could be. I could n't go on doing the wrong thing 
to oblige them. Oh it was the wrong thing, the stamp 
of the work for which they sat Hawley was not 
the only person to say it now. I sent in a large num- 
ber of the drawings I had made for " Rutland Ram- 
say," and I received a warning that was more to the 
point than Hawley's. The artistic adviser of the house 
for which I was working was of opinion that many 
of my illustrations were not what had been looked 
for. Most of these illustrations were the subjects 
in which the Monarchs had figured. Without going 
into the question of what had been looked for, I had 
to face the fact that at this rate I should n't get the 
other books to do. I hurled myself in despair on Miss 
Churm I put her through all her paces. I not only 
adopted Oronte publicly as my hero, but one morning 
when the Major looked in to see if I did n't require 
him to finish a Cheapside figure for which he had 
begun to sit the week before, I told him I had changed 
my mind I 'd do the drawing from my man. At 
this my visitor turned pale and stood looking at me. 
" Is be your idea of an English gentleman ? " he asked. 

I was disappointed, I was nervous, I wanted to get 
on with my work; so I replied with irritation: "Oh 
my dear Major I can't be ruined for you ! " 

It was a horrid speech, but he stood another mo- 
ment after which, without a word, he quitted the 
studio. I drew a long breath, for I said to myself that I 
should n't see him again. I had n't told him definitely 



THE REAL THING 

that I was in danger of having my work rejected, but I 
was vexed at his not having felt the catastrophe in the 
air, read with me the moral of our fruitless collabor- 
ation, the lesson that in the deceptive atmosphere of 
art even the highest respectability may fail of being 
plastic. 

I did n't owe my friends money, but I did see them 
again. They reappeared together three days later, 
and, given all the other facts, there was something 
tragic in that one. It was a clear proof they could find 
nothing else in life to do. They had threshed the mat- 
ter out in a dismal conference they had digested 
the bad news that they were not in for the series. If 
they were n't useful to me even for the Cheapside their 
function seemed difficult to determine, and I could 
only judge at first that they had come, forgivingly, 
decorously, to take a last leave. This made me rejoice 
in secret that I had little leisure for a scene; for I had 
placed both my other models in position together and 
I was pegging away at a drawing from which I hoped 
to derive glory. It had been suggested by the passage 
in which Rutland Ramsay, drawing up a chair to 
Artemisia's piano-stool, says extraordinary things to 
herwhile she ostensibly fingers out a difficult piece of 
music. I had done Miss Churm at the piano before 
it was an attitude in which she knew how to take on an 
absolutely poetic grace. I wished the two figures to 
"compose " together with intensity, and my little Ital- 
ian had entered perfectly into my conception. The 
pair were vividly before me, the piano had been pulled 
out; it was a charming show of blended youth and 
murmured love, which I had only to catch and keep. 

343 



THE REAL THING 

My visitors stood and looked at it, and I was friendly 
to them over my shoulder. 

They made no response, but I was used to silent 
company and went on with my work, only a little dis- 
concerted even though exhilarated by the sense 
that this was at least the ideal thing at not having 
got rid of them after all. Presently I heard Mrs. 
Monarch's sweet voice beside or rather above me: 
"I wish her hair were a little better done." I looked 
up and she was staring with a strange fixedness at 
Miss Churm, whose back was turned to her. " Do you 
mind my just touching it ? " she went on a question 
which made me spring up for an instant as with the 
instinctive fear that she might do the young lady a 
harm. But she quieted me with a glance I shall never 
forget I confess I should like to have been able to 
paint that and went for a moment to my model. 
She spoke to her softly, laying a hand on her shoulder 
and bending over her; and as the girl, understanding, 
gratefully assented, she disposed her rough curls, with 
a few quick passes, in such a way as to make Miss 
Churm's head twice as charming. It was one of the 
most heroic personal services I 've ever seen rend- 
ered. Then Mrs. Monarch turned away with a low 
sigh and, looking about her as if for something to do, 
stooped to the floor with a noble humility and picked 
up a dirty rag that had dropped out of my paint-box. 

The Major meanwhile had also been looking for 
something to do, and, wandering to the other end of 
the studio, saw before him my breakfast-things neg- 
lected, unremoved. "I say, can't I be useful here?" 
he called out to me with an irrepressible quaver. I 

344 



THE REAL THING 

assented with a laugh that I fear was awkward, and 
for the next ten minutes, while I worked, I heard the 
light clatter of china and the tinkle of spoons and 
glass. Mrs. Monarch assisted her husband they 
washed up my crockery, they put it away. They wan- 
dered off into my little scullery, and I afterwards found 
that they had cleaned my knives and that my slender 
stock of plate had an unprecedented surface. When it 
came over me, the latent eloquence of what they were 
doing, I confess that my drawing was blurred for a 
moment the picture swam. They had accepted 
their failure, but they couldn't accept their fate. 
They had bowed their heads in bewilderment to the 
perverse and cruel law in virtue of which the real thing 
could be so much less precious than the unreal; but 
they did n't want to starve. If my servants were my 
models, then my models might be my servants. They 
would reverse the parts the others would sit for the 
ladies and gentlemen and they would do the work. 
They would still be in the studio it was an intense 
dumb appeal to me not to turn them out. "Take us 
on," they wanted to say "we'll do anything." 

My pencil dropped from my hand; my sitting was 
spoiled and I got rid of my sitters, who were also evid- 
ently rather mystified and awestruck. Then, alone 
with the Major and his wife I had a most uncomfort- 
able moment. He put their prayer into a single sent- 
ence : " I say, you know just let us do for you, can't 
you ? " I could n't it was dreadful to see them 
emptying my slops ; but I pretended I could, to oblige 
them, for about a week. Then I gave them a sum of 
money to go away, and I never saw them again. I ob- 

345 



THE REAL THING 

tamed the remaining books, but my friend Hawley 
repeats that Major and Mrs. Monarch did me a per- 
manent harm, got me into false ways. If it be true 
I *m content to have paid the price for the memory. 



BROOKSMITH 



BROOKSMITH 

WE are scattered now, the friends of the late Mr. 
Oliver Offord; but whenever we chance to meet I 
think we are conscious of a certain esoteric respect for 
each other. "Yes, you too have been in Arcadia," we 
seem not too grumpily to allow. When I pass the 
house in Mansfield Street I remember that Arcadia 
was there. I don't know who has it now, and don't 
want to know; it 5 s enough to be so sure that if 1 should 
ring the bell there would be no such luck for me as 
that Brooksmith should open the door. Mr. Offord, 
the most agreeable, the most attaching of bachelors, 
was a retired diplomatist, living on his pension and on 
something of his own over and above; a good deal con- 
fined, by his infirmities, to his fireside and delighted to 
be found there any afternoon in the year, from five 
o'clock on, by such visitors as Brooksmith allowed to 
come up. Brooksmith was his butler and his most in- 
timate friend, to whom we all stood, or I should say 
sat, in the same relation in which the subject of the 
sovereign finds himself to the prime minister. By hav- 
ing been for years, in foreign lands, the most delightful 
Englishman any one had ever known, Mr. Offord had 
in my opinion rendered signal service to his country. 
But I suppose he had been too much liked liked 
even by those who did n't like it so that as people of 
that sort never get titles or dotations for the horrid 
things they've not done, his principal reward was 
simply that we went to see him. 

349 



BROOKSMITH 

Oh we went perpetually, and it was not our fault if 
he was not overwhelmed with this particular honour. 
Any visitor who came once came again; to come 
merely once was a slight nobody, I 'm sure, had ever 
put upon him. His circle therefore was essentially com- 
posed of habitues, who were habitues for each other as 
well as for him, as those of a happy salon should be. 
I remember vividly every element of the place, down 
to the intensely Londonish look of the grey opposite 
houses, in the gap of the white curtains of the high 
windows, and the exact spot where, on a particular 
afternoon, I put down my tea-cup for Brooksmith, 
lingering an instant, to gather It up as if he were pluck- 
ing a flower. Mr. Offbrd's drawing-room was indeed 
Brooksmith's garden, his pruned and tended human 
parterre, and if we all flourished there and grew well 
in our places it was largely owing to his supervision. 

Many persons have heard much, though most have 
doubtless seen little, of the famous institution of the 
salon, and many are born to the depression of knowing 
that this finest flower of social life refuses to bloom 
where the English tongue is spoken. The explanation 
is usually that our women have not the skill to culti- 
vate it the art to direct through a smiling land, be- 
tween suggestive shores, a sinuous stream of talk. My 
aflFectionate, my pious memory of Mr. Offbrd contra- 
dicts this induction only, I fear, more insidiously to 
confirm it. The sallow and slightly smoked drawing- 
room in which he spent so large a portion of the last 
years of his life certainly deserved the distinguished 
name; but on the other hand it could n't be said at all 
to owe its stamp to any intervention throwing into 

350 



BROOKSMITH 

relief the fact that there was no Mrs. Offord. The 
dear man had indeed, at the most, been capable of one 
of those sacrifices to which women are deemed pecul- 
iarly apt : he had recognised under the influence, 
in some degree, it is true, of physical infirmity that 
if you wish people to find you at home you must man- 
age not to be out. He had in short accepted the truth 
which many dabblers in the social art are slow to 
learn, that you must really, as they say, take a line, 
and that the only way as yet discovered of being at 
home is to stay at home. Finally his own fireside had 
become a summary of his habits. Why should he ever 
have left it? since this would have been leaving 
what was notoriously pleasantest in London, the com- 
pact charmed cluster (thinning away indeed into 
casual couples) round the fine old last-century chim- 
ney-piece which, with the exception of the remarkable 
collection of miniatures, was the best thing the place 
contained. Mr. OfFord was n't rich; he had nothing 
but his pension and the use for life of the somewhat 
superannuated house. 

When I 'm reminded by some opposed discomfort 
of the present hour how perfectly we were all handled 
there, I ask myself once more what had been the secret 
of such perfection. One had taken it for granted at the 
time, for anything that is supremely good produces 
more acceptance than surprise. I felt we were all 
happy, but I did n't consider how our happiness was 
managed. And yet there were questions to be asked, 
questions that strike me as singularly obvious now 
that there 's nobody to answer them. Mr. OfFord had 
solved the insoluble; he had, without feminine help 

351 



BROOKSMITH 

save in the sense that ladies were dying to come to him 
and that he saved the lives of several established 
a salon; but I might have guessed that there was a 
method in his madness, a law in his success. He had 
n't hit it off by a mere fluke. There was an art in it all, 
and how was the art so hidden ? Who indeed if it came 
to that was the occult artist ? Launching this enquiry 
the other day I had already got hold of the tail of my 
reply. I was helped by the very wonder of some of the 
conditions that came back to me those that used to 
seem as natural as sunshine in a fine climate. 

How was it for instance that we never were a crowd, 
never either too many or too few, always the right 
people with the right people there must really have 
been no wrong people at all always coming and 
going, never sticking fast nor overstaying, yet never 
popping in or out with an indecorous familiarity? 
How was it that we all sat where we wanted and 
moved when we wanted and met whom we wanted 
and escaped whom we wanted ; joining, according to 
the accident of inclination, the general circle or falling 
in with a single talker on a convenient sofa ? Why 
were all the sofas so convenient, the accidents so 
happy, the talkers so ready, the listeners so willing, 
the subjects presented to you in a rotation as quickly 
foreordained as the courses at dinner ? A dearth of 
topics would have been as unheard of as a lapse in the 
service. These speculations could n't fail to lead me 
to the fundamental truth that Brooksmith had been 
somehow at the bottom of the mystery. If he had n't 
established the salon at least he had carried it on. 
Brooksmith in short was the artist ! 

352 



BROOKSMITH 

We felt this covertly at the time, without formulat- 
ing it, and were conscious, as an ordered and prosper- 
ous community, of his evenhanded justice, all un- 
tainted with flunkeyism. He had none of that vulgar- 
ity his touch was infinitely fine. The delicacy of it 
was clear to me on the first occasion my eyes rested, as 
they were so often to rest again, on the domestic 
revealed, in the turbid light of the street, by the open- 
ing of the house-door. I saw on the spot that though 
he had plenty of school he carried it without arro- 
gance he had remained articulate and human. 
L'Ecole Anglaise Mr. Offord used laughingly to call 
him when, later on, it happened more than once that 
we had some conversation about him. But I remem- 
ber accusing Mr. Offord of not doing him quite ideal 
justice. That he was n't one of the giants of the 
school, however, was admitted by my old friend, who 
really understood him perfectly and was devoted to 
him, as I shall show; which doubtless poor Brook- 
smith had himself felt, to his cost, when his value in 
the market was originally determined. The utility of 
his class in general is estimated by the foot and the 
inch, and poor Brooksmith had only about five feet 
three to put into circulation. He acknowledged the in- 
adequacy of this provision, and I 'm sure was pene- 
trated with the everlasting fitness of the relation be- 
tween service and stature. If be had been Mr. Offord 
he certainly would have found Brooksmith wanting, 
and indeed the laxity of his employer on this score was 
one of many things he had had to condone and to 
which he had at last indulgently adapted himself. 

I remember the old man's saying to me: "Oh my 

353 



BROOKSMITH 

servants, if they can live with me a fortnight they can 
live with me for ever. But it 's the first fortnight that 
tries 'em." It was in the first fortnight for instance 
that Brooksmith had had to learn that he was exposed 
to being addressed as "my dear fellow" and "my 
poor child." Strange and deep must such a probation 
have been to him, and he doubtless emerged from it 
tempered and purified. This was written to a certain 
extent in his appearance; in his spare brisk little per- 
son, in his cloistered white face and extraordinarily 
polished hair, which told of responsibility, looked as if 
it were kept up to the same high standard as the plate; 
in his small clear anxious eyes, even in the permitted, 
though not exactly encouraged, tuft on his chin. "He 
thinks me rather mad, but 1 *ve broken him in, and 
now he likes the place, he likes the company," said the 
old man. I embraced this fully after I had become 
aware that Brooksmith 's main characteristic was a 
deep and shy refinement, though I remember I was 
rather puzzled when, on another occasion, Mr. Offord 
remarked: "What he likes is the talk mingling in 
the conversation/* I was conscious I had never seen 
Brooksmith permit himself this freedom, but I guessed 
in a moment that what Mr. Offord alluded to was a 
participation more intense than any speech could have 
represented that of being perpetually present on a 
hundred legitimate pretexts, errands, necessities, and 
breathing the very atmosphere of criticism, the famous 
criticism of life. "Quite an education, sir, isn't it, 
sir ? " he said to me one day at the foot of the stairs 
when he was letting me out; and I Ve always remem- 
bered the words and the tone as the first sign of the 

354 



BROOKSMITH 

quickening drama of poor Brooksmith's fate. It was 
indeed an education, but to what was this sensitive 
young man of thirty-five, of the servile class, being 
educated ? 

Practically and inevitably, for the time, to compan- 
ionship, to the perpetual, the even exaggerated refer- 
ence and appeal of a person brought to dependence 
by his time of life and his infirmities and always ad- 
dicted moreover this was the exaggeration to 
the art of giving you pleasure by letting you do things 
for him. There were certain things Mr. Offord was 
capable of pretending he liked you to do even when 
he did n't this, I mean, if he thought you liked 
them. If it happened that you did n't either which 
was rare, yet might be of course there were cross- 
purposes ; but Brooksmith was there to prevent their 
going very far. This was precisely the way he acted 
as moderator; he averted misunderstandings or 
cleared them up. He had been capable, strange as it 
may appear, of acquiring for this purpose an insight 
into the French tongue, which was often used at Mr. 
Offord's; for besides being habitual to most of the 
foreigners, and they were many, who haunted the 
place or arrived with letters letters often requiring 
a little worried consideration, of which Brooksmith 
always had cognisance it had really become the 
primary language of the master of the house. I don't 
know if all the malentendus were in French, but almost 
all the explanations were, and this did n't a bit prevent 
Brooksmith's following them. I know Mr. Offord 
used to read passages to him from Montaigne and 
Saint-Simon, for he read perpetually when alone 

355 



BROOKSMITH 

when they were alone, that is and Brooksmith was 
always about. Perhaps you'll say no wonder Mr. 
Offord's butler regarded him as "rather mad." How- 
ever, if I 'm not sure what he thought about Mon- 
taigne I'm convinced he admired Saint-Simon. A 
certain feeling for letters must have rubbed off on him 
from the mere handling of his master's books, which 
he was always carrying to and fro and putting back 
in their places. 

I often noticed that if an anecdote or a quotation, 
much more a lively discussion, was going forward, he 
would, if busy with the fire or the curtains, the lamp 
or the tea, find a pretext for remaining in the room 
till the point should be reached. If his purpose was 
to catch it you weren't discreet, you were in fact 
scarce human, to call him off, and I shall never forget 
a look, a hard stony stare I caught it in its pass- 
age which, one day when there were a good many 
people in the room, he fastened upon the footman who 
was helping him in the service and who, in an under- 
tone, had asked him some irrelevant question. It was 
the only manifestation of harshness I ever observed 
on Brooksmith's part, and I at first wondered what 
was the matter. Then I became conscious that Mr. 
Offord was relating a very curious anecdote, never 
before perhaps made so public, and imparted to the 
narrator by an eye-witness of the fact, bearing on 
Lord Byron's life in Italy. Nothing would induce me 
to reproduce it here, but Brooksmith had been in 
danger of losing it. If I ever should venture to repro- 
duce it I shall feel how much I lose in not having my 
fellow auditor to refer to. 

356 



BROOKSMITH 

The first day Mr. OfFord's door was closed was 
therefore a dark date in contemporary history. It was 
raining hard and my umbrella was wet, but Brook- 
smith received it from me exactly as if this were a 
preliminary for going upstairs. I observed however 
that instead of putting it away he held it poised and 
trickling over the rug, and I then became aware that 
he was looking at me with deep acknowledging eyes 
his air of universal responsibility. I immediately 
understood there was scarce need of question and 
answer as they passed between us. When I took in 
that our good friend had given up as never before, 
though only for the occasion, I exclaimed dolefully: 
"What a difference it will make and to how many 
people!" 

" I shall be one of them, sir ! " said Brooksmith ; and 
that was the beginning of the end. 

Mr. OfFord came down again, but the spell was 
broken, the great sign being that the conversation was 
for the first time not directed. It wandered and stum- 
bled, a little frightened, like a lost child it had let 
go the nurse's hand. "The worst of it is that now 
we shall talk about my health c'est la fin de tout," 
Mr. OfFord said when he reappeared; and then I re- 
cognised what a note of change that would be for 
he had never tolerated anything so provincial. We 
"ran" to each other's health as little as to the daily 
weather. The talk became ours, in a word not his ; 
and as ours, even when he talked, it could only be 
inferior. In this form it was a distress to Brooksmith, 
whose attention now wandered from it altogether : he 
had so much closer a vision of his master's intimate 

357 



BROOKSMITH 

conditions than our superficialities represented. There 
were better hours, and he was more in and out of the 
room, but I could see he was conscious of the decline, 
almost of the collapse, of our great institution. He 
seemed to wish to take counsel with me about it, to 
feel responsible for its going on in some form or other. 
When for the second period the first had lasted 
several days he had to tell me that his employer 
did n't receive, I half-expected to hear him say after 
a moment "Do you think I ought to, sir, in his 
place?" as he might have asked me, with the 
return of autumn, if I thought he had better light the 
drawing-room fire. 

He had a resigned philosophic sense of what his 
guests our guests, as I came to regard them in our 
colloquies would expect. His feeling was that he 
would n't absolutely have approved of himself as a 
substitute for Mr. Offord; but he was so saturated 
with the religion of habit that he would have made, 
for our friends, the necessary sacrifice to the divinity* 
He would take them on a little further and till they 
could look about them. I think I saw him also men- 
tally confronted with the opportunity to deal for 
once in his life with some of his own dumb pre- 
ferences, his limitations of sympathy, weeding a little 
in prospect and returning to a purer tradition. It was 
not unknown to me that he considered that toward 
the end of our host's career a certain laxity of selection 
had crept in. 

At last it came to be the case that we all found the 
closed door more often than the open one; but even 
when it was closed Brooksmith managed a crack for 

358 



BROOKSMITH 

me to squeeze through; so that practically I never 
turned away without having paid a visit. The differ- 
ence simply came to be that the visit was to Brook- 
smith. It took place in the hall, at the familiar fout 
of the stairs, and we did n't sit down, at least Brook- 
smith did n't ; moreover it was devoted wholly to one 
topic and always had the air of being already over 
beginning, so to say, at the end. But it was always 
interesting it always gave me something to think 
about. It 's true that the subject of my meditation 
was ever the same ever "It's all very well, but 
what will become of Brooksmith ? " Even my private 
answer to this question left me still unsatisfied. No 
doubt Mr. Offord would provide for him, but what 
would he provide ? that was the great point. He 
couldn't provide society; and society had become a 
necessity of Brooksmith's nature. I must add that he 
never showed a symptom of what I may call sordid 
solicitude anxiety on his own account. He was 
rather livid and intensely grave, as befitted a man 
before whose eyes the "shade of that which once was 
great" was passing away. He had the solemnity of a 
person winding up, under depressing circumstances, 
a long-established and celebrated business ; he was a 
kind of social executor or liquidator. But his manner 
seemed to testify exclusively to the uncertainty of our 
future. I could n't in those days have afforded it 
I lived in two rooms in Jermyn Street and did n't 
"keep a man"; but even if my income had permitted 
I should n't have ventured to say to Brooksmith 
(emulating Mr. Offord) "My dear fellow, I'll take 
you on." The whole tone of our intercourse was so 

359 



BROOKSMITH 

much more an implication that it was / who should 
now want a lift. Indeed there was a tacit assurance 
in Brooksmith's whole attitude that he should have 
me on his mind. 

One of the most assiduous members of our circle 
had been Lady Kenyon, and I remember his telling 
me one day that her ladyship had in spite of her own 
infirmities, lately much aggravated, been in person 
to enquire. In answer to this I remarked that she 
would feel it more than any one. Brooksmith had a 
pause before saying in a certain tone there's no 
reproducing some of his tones "I'll go and see 
her." I went to see her myself and learned he had 
waited on her; but when I said to her, in the form of 
a joke but with a core of earnest, that when all was 
over some of us ought to combine, to club together, 
and set Brooksmith up on his own account, she replied 
a trifle disappointingly: "Do you mean in a public- 
house ? " I looked at her in a way that I think Brook- 
smith himself would have approved, and then I an- 
swered : "Yes, the Offord Arms/* What I had meant 
of course was that for the love of art itself we ought 
to look to it that such a peculiar faculty and so much 
acquired experience shouldn't be wasted. I really 
think that if we had caused a few black-edged cards to 
be struck off and circulated "Mr. Brooksmith will 
continue to receive on the old premises from four to 
seven; business carried on as usual during the altera- 
tions " the greater number of us would have rallied. 
Several times he took me upstairs always by his 
own proposal and our dear old friend, in bed (in a 
curious flowered and brocaded casaque which made 

360 



BROOKSMITH 

him, especially as his head was tied up in a handker- 
chief to match, look, to my imagination, like the 
dying Voltaire) held for ten minutes a sadly shrunken 
little salon. I felt indeed each time as if I were attend- 
ing the last coucher of some social sovereign. He was 
royally whimsical about his sufferings and not at all 
concerned quite as if the Constitution provided 
for the case about his successor. He glided over 
our sufferings charmingly, and none of his jokes it 
was a gallant abstention, some of them would have 
been so easy were at our expense. Now and again, 
I confess, there was one at Brooksmith's, but so 
pathetically sociable as to make the excellent man 
look at me in a way that seemed to say : '* Do exchange 
a glance with me, or I shan't be able to stand it." 
What he was n't able to stand was not what Mr. 
Offord said about him, but what he was n't able to 
say in return. His idea of conversation for himself 
was giving you the convenience of speaking to him ; 
and when he went to " see " Lady Kenyon for instance 
it was to carry her the tribute of his receptive silence. 
Where would the speech of his betters have been if 
proper service had been a manifestation of sound ? 
In that case the fundamental difference would have 
had to be shown by their dumbness, and many of 
them, poor things, were dumb enough without that 
provision. Brooksmith took an unfailing interest in 
the preservation of the fundamental difference; it was 
the thing he had most on his conscience. 

What had become of it however when Mr. Offord 
passed away like any inferior person was relegated 
to eternal stillness after the manner of a butler above- 

361 



BROOKSMITH 

stairs ? His aspect on the event for the several suc- 
cessive days may be imagined, and the multiplica- 
tion by funereal observance of the things he did n't 
say. When everything was over it was late the 
same day I knocked at the door of the house of 
mourning as I so often had done before. I could never 
call on Mr. Offord again, but I had come literally to 
call on Brooksmith. I wanted to ask him if there was 
anything I could do for him, tainted with vagueness 
as this enquiry could only be. My presumptuous 
dream of taking him into my own service had died 
away: my service was n't worth his being taken into. 
My offer could only be to help him to find another 
place, and yet there was an indelicacy, as it were, in 
taking for granted that his thoughts would imme- 
diately be fixed on another. I had a hope that he 
would be able to give his life a different form 
though certainly not the form, the frequent result of 
such bereavements, of his setting up a little shop. 
That would have been dreadful; for I should have 
wished to forward any enterprise he might em- 
bark in, yet how could I have brought myself to go 
and pay him shillings and take back coppers over a 
counter ? My visit then was simply an intended com- 
pliment. He took it as such, gratefully and with all 
the tact in the world. He knew I really could n't help 
him and that I knew he knew I could n't; but we 
discussed the situation with a good deal of elegant 
generality at the foot of the stairs, in the hall 
already dismantled, where I had so often discussed 
other situations with him. The executors were in 
possession, as was still more apparent when he made 

362 



BROOKSMITH 

me pass for a few minutes into the dining-room, where 
various objects were muffled up for removal. 

Two definite facts, however, he had to communi- 
cate; one being that he was to leave the house for ever 
that night (servants, for some mysterious reason, 
seem always to depart by night), and the other he 
mentioned it only at the last and with hesitation 
that he was already aware his late master had left 
him a legacy of eighty pounds. "I 'm very glad/' I 
said, and Brooksmith was of the same mind : "It was 
so like him to think of me/' This was all that passed 
between us on the subject, and I know nothing of his 
judgement of Mr. Offord's memento. Eighty pounds 
are always eighty pounds, and no one has ever left 
me an equal sum ; but, all the same, for Brooksmith, I 
was disappointed. I don't know what I had expected, 
but it was almost a shock. Eighty pounds might Stock 
a small shop a very small shop ; but, I repeat, I 
could n't bear to think of that. I asked my friend if 
he had been able to save a little, and he replied : "No, 
sir; I've had to do things." I didn't enquire what 
things they might have been ; they were his own affair, 
and I took his word for them as assentingly as if he 
had had the greatness of an ancient house to keep up; 
especially as there was something in his manner that 
seemed to convey a prospect of further sacrifice. 

"I shall have to turn round a bit, sir I shall have 
to look about me," he said ; and then he added in- 
dulgently, magnanimously: "If you should happen 
to hear of anything for me " 

I could n't let him finish ; this was, in its essence, too 
much in the really grand manner. It would be a help 

3 6 3 



BROOKSMITH 

to my getting him off my mind to be able to pretend I 
could find the right place, and that help he wished to 
give me, for it was doubtless painful to him to see me 
in so false a position. I interposed with a few words to 
the effect of how well aware I was that wherever he 
should go, whatever he should do, he would miss our 
old friend terribly miss him even more than I 
should, having been with him so much more. This 
led him to make the speech that has remained with 
me as the very text of the whole episode. 

"Oh sir, it 's sad for you, very sad indeed, and for a 
great many gentlemen and ladies ; that it is, sir. But 
for me, sir, it is, if I may say so, still graver even than 
that: it's just the loss of something that was every- 
thing. For me, sir," he went on with rising tears, 
"he was just #//, if you know what I mean, sir. You 
have others, sir, I dare say not that I would have 
you understand me to speak of them as in any way 
tantamount. But you have the pleasures of society, 
sir; if it's only in talking about him, sir, as I dare say 
you do freely for all his blest memory has to fear 
from it with gentlemen and ladies who have had 
the same honour. That 's not for me, sir, and I Ve to 
keep my associations to myself. Mr. Offord was my 
society, and now, you see, I just have n't any. You 
go back to conversation, sir, after all, and I go back 
to my place," Brooksmith stammered, without ex- 
aggerated irony or dramatic bitterness, but with a flat 
unstudied veracity and his hand on the knob of the 
street-door. He turned it to let me out and then he 
added: "I just go downstairs, sir, again, and I stay 
there/' 

364 



BROOKSMITH 

"My poor child," I replied in my emotion, quite as 
Mr. Offord used to speak, "my dear fellow, leave it 
to me : we 9 ll look after you, we 'II all do something for 
you." 

"Ah if you could give me some one like him! But 
there ain't two such in the world," Brooksmith said 
as we parted. 

He had given me his address the place where he 
would be to be heard of, For a long time I had no 
occasion to make use of the information : he proved 
on trial so very difficult a case. The people who knew 
him and had known Mr. Offord did n't want to take 
him, and yet I could n't bear to try to thrust him 
among strangers strangers to his past when not to 
his present. I spoke to many of our old friends about 
him and found them all governed by the odd mixture 
of feelings of which I myself was conscious as well 
as disposed, further, to entertain a suspicion that he 
was "spoiled," with which I then would have nothing 
to do. In plain terms a certain embarrassment, a 
sensible awkwardness when they thought of it, at- 
tached to the idea of using him as a menial : they had 
met him so often in society. Many of them would have 
asked him, and did ask him, or rather did ask me to 
ask him, to come and see them ; but a mere visiting- 
list was not what I wanted for him. He was too short 
for people who were very particular; nevertheless I 
heard of an opening in a diplomatic household which 
led me to write him a note, though I was looking much 
less for something grand than for something human. 
Five days later I heard from him. The secretary's 
wife had decided, after keeping him waiting till then, 

365 



BROOKSMITH 

that she could n't take a servant out of a house in 
which there had n't been a lady. The note had a 
P.S. : "It's a good job there was n't, sir, such a lady 



as some/* 



A week later he came to see me and told me he was 
"suited," committed to some highly respectable people 
they were something quite immense in the City 
who lived on the Bayswater side of the Park. " I dare 
say it will be rather poor, sir," he admitted ; " but I 've 
seen the fireworks, have n't I, sir ? it can't be fire- 
works every night. After Mansfield Street there ain't 
much choice." There was a certain amount, however, 
it seemed; for the following year, calling one day on a 
country cousin, a lady of a certain age who was spend- 
ing a fortnight in town with some friends of her own, 
a family unknown to me and resident in Chester 
Square, the door of the house was opened, to my sur- 
prise and gratification, by Brooksmith in person. 
When I came out I had some conversation with him 
from which I gathered that he had found the large 
City people too dull for endurance, and I guessed, 
though he didn't say it, that he had found them 
vulgar* as well. I don't know what judgement he 
would have passed on his actual patrons if my relative 
hadn't been their friend; but in view of that con- 
nexion he abstained from comment. 

None was necessary, however, for before the lady in 
question brought her visit to a close they honoured me 
with an invitation to dinner, which I accepted. There 
was a largeish party on the occasion, but I confess I 
thought of Brooksmith rather more than of the seated 
company. They required no depth of attention 

366 



BROOKSMITH 

they were all referable to usual irredeemable inevitable 
types. It was the world of cheerful commonplace and 
conscious gentility and prosperous density, a full-fed 
material insular world, a world of hideous florid plate 
and ponderous order and thin conversation. There 
was n't a word said about Byron, or even about a 
minor bard then much in view. Nothing would have 
induced me to look at Brooksmith in the course of the 
repast, and I felt sure that not even my overturning the 
wine would have induced him to meet my eye. We 
were in intellectual sympathy we felt, as regards 
each other, a degree of social responsibility. In short 
we had been in Arcadia together, and we had both 
come to this I No wonder we were ashamed to be con- 
fronted. When he had helped on my overcoat, as I 
was going away, we parted, for the first time since the 
earliest days of Mansfield Street, in silence. I thought 
he looked lean and wasted, and I guessed that his new 
place was n't more "human" than his previous one. 
There was plenty of beef and beer, but there was no 
reciprocity. The question for him to have asked 
before accepting the position would n't have been 
"How many footmen are kept?*' but "How much 
imagination?" 

The next time I went to the house I confess it 
was n't very soon I encountered his successor, a 
personage who evidently enjoyed the good fortune of 
never having quitted his natural level. Could any be 
higher ? he seemed to ask over the heads of three 
footmen and even of some visitors. He made me feel 
as if Brooksmith were dead; but I didn't dare to 
enquire I could n't have borne his " I have n't the 

367 



BROOKSMITH 

least idea, sir." I dispatched a note to the address 
that worthy had given me after Mr. Offbrd's death, 
but I received no answer. Six months later however I 
was favoured with a visit from an elderly dreary dingy 
person who introduced herself to me as Mr. Brook- 
smith's aunt and from whom I learned that he was out 
of place and out of health and had allowed her to 
come and say to me that if I could spare half an hour 
to look in at him he would take it as a rare honour. 

I went the next day his messenger had given me a 
new address and found my friend lodged in a short 
sordid street in Marylebone, one of those corners of 
London that wear the last expression of sickly mean- 
ness. The room into which I was shown was above 
the small establishment of a dyer and cleaner who had 
inflated kid gloves and discoloured shawls in his shop- 
front. There was a great deal of grimy infant life up 
and down the place, and there was a hot moist smell 
within, as of the " boiling " of dirty linen. Brooksmith 
sat with a blanket over his legs at a clean little win- 
dow where, from behind stiff bluish-white curtains, 
he could look across at a huckster's and a tinsmith's 
and a small greasy public-house. He had passed 
through an illness and was convalescent, and his 
mother, as well as his aunt, was in attendance on him. 
I liked the nearer relative, who was bland and in- 
tensely humble, but I had my doubts of the remoter, 
whom I connected perhaps unjustly with the opposite 
public-house she seemed somehow greasy with the 
same grease and whose furtive eye followed every 
movement of my hand as to see if it were n't going 
into my pocket. It did n't take this direction I 

368 



BROOKSMITH 

could n't, unsolicited, put myself at that sort of ease 
with Brooksmith. Several times the door of the room 
opened and mysterious old women peeped in and 
shuffled back again. I don't know who they were; 
poor Brooksmith seemed encompassed with vague 
prying beery females. 

He was vague himself, and evidently weak, and 
much embarrassed, and not an allusion was made be- 
tween us to Mansfield Street. The vision of the salon 
of which he had been an ornament hovered before me 
however, by contrast, sufficiently. He assured me he 
was really getting better, and his mother remarked 
that he would come round if he could only get his 
spirits up. The aunt echoed this opinion, and I be- 
came more sure that in her own case she knew where 
to go for such a purpose. I 'm afraid I was rather weak 
with my old friend, for I neglected the opportunity, so 
exceptionally good, to rebuke the levity which had led 
him to throw up honourable positions fine stiff 
steady berths in Bayswater and Belgravia, with morn- 
ing prayers, as I knew, attached to one of them. Very 
likely his reasons had been profane and sentimental; 
he did n't want morning prayers, he wanted to be 
somebody's dear fellow; but I could n't be the person 
to rebuke him. He shuffled these episodes out of 
sight I saw he had no wish to discuss them. I noted 
further, strangely enough, that it would probably be a 
questionable pleasure for him to see me again: he 
doubted now even of my power to condone his aberra- 
tions. He did n't wish to have to explain ; and his 
behaviour was likely in future to need explanation. 
When I bade him farewell he looked at me a moment 

369 



BROOKSMITH 

with eyes that said everything : " How can I talk about 
those exquisite years in this place, before these people, 
with the old women poking their heads in ? It was 
very good of you to come to see me; it was n't my idea 
she brought you. We 've said everything; it 's over; 
you '11 lose all patience with me, and I *d rather you 
should n't see the rest." I sent him some money in a 
letter the next day, but I saw the rest only in the light 
of a barren sequel. 

A whole year after my visit to him I became aware 
once, in dining out, that Brooksmith was one of the 
several servants who hovered behind our chairs. He 
had n't opened the door of the house to me, nor had 
I recognised him in the array of retainers in the hall. 
This time I tried to catch his eye, but he never gave 
me a chance, and when he handed me a dish I could 
only be careful to thank him audibly. Indeed I par- 
took of two entrees of which I had my doubts, subse- 
quently converted into certainties, in order not to snub 
him. He looked well enough in health, but much 
older, and wore in an exceptionally marked degree 
the glazed and expressionless mask of the British 
domestic de race. I saw with dismay that if I had n't 
known him I should have taken him, on the showing 
of his countenance, for an extravagant illustration of 
irresponsive servile gloom. I said to myself that he 
had become a reactionary, gone over to the Philistines, 
thrown himself into religion, the religion of his 
"place," like a foreign lady sur le retour. I divined 
moreover that he was only engaged for the evening 
he had become a mere waiter, had joined the band 
of the white-waistcoated who "go out." There was 

370 



BROOKSMITH 

something pathetic in this fact it was a terrible vul- 
garisation of Brooksmith. It was the mercenary prose 
of butlerhood; he had given up the struggle for the 
poetry. If reciprocity was what he had missed where 
was the reciprocity now ? Only in the bottoms of the 
wine-glasses and the five shillings or whatever they 
get clapped into his hand by the permanent man. 
However, I supposed he had taken up a precarious 
branch of his profession because it after all sent him 
less downstairs. His relations with London society 
were more superficial, but they were of course more 
various. As I went away on this occasion I looked 
out for him eagerly among the four or five attendants 
whose perpendicular persons, fluting the walls of Lon- 
don passages, are supposed to lubricate the process of 
departure ; but he was not on duty. I asked one of the 
others if he were not in the house, and received the 
prompt answer : "Just left, sir. Anything I can do for 
you, sir ? " I wanted to say " Please give him my kind 
regards " ; but I abstained I did n't want to com- 
promise him ; and I never came across him again. 

Often and often, in dining out, I looked for him, 
sometimes accepting invitations on purpose to multi- 
ply the chances of my meeting him. But always in 
vain ; so that as I met many other members of the 
casual class over and over again I at last adopted 
the theory that he always procured a list of expected 
guests beforehand and kept away from the banquets 
which he thus learned I was to grace. At last I gave 
up hope, and one day at the end of three years I 
received another visit from his aunt. She was drearier 
and dingier, almost squalid, and she was in great 

371 



BROOKSMITH 

tribulation and want. Her sister, Mrs. Brooksmith, 
had been dead a year, and three months later her 
nephew had disappeared. He had always looked after 
her a bit since her troubles; I never knew what her 
troubles had been and now she had n't so much as 
a petticoat to pawn. She had also a niece, to whom 
she had been everything before her troubles, but the 
niece had treated her most shameful. These were 
details; the great and romantic fact was Brooksmith 's 
final evasion of his fate. He had gone out to wait one 
evening as usual, in a white waistcoat she had done up 
for him with her own hands being due at a large 
party up Kensington way. But he had never come 
home again and had never arrived at the large party, 
nor at any party that any one could make out. No 
trace of him had come to light no gleam of the 
white waistcoat had pierced the obscurity of his doom. 
This news was a sharp shock to me, for I had my ideas 
about his real destination. His aged relative had 
promptly, as she said, guessed the worst. Somehow 
and somewhere he had got out of the way altogether, 
and now I trust that, with characteristic deliberation, 
he is changing the plates of the immortal gods. As my 
depressing visitant also said, he never had got his 
spirits up. I was fortunately able to dismiss her with 
her own somewhat improved. But the dim ghost of 
poor Brooksmith is one of those that I see. He had 
indeed been spoiled. 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIlN 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 



MRS. MUNDEN had not yet been to my studio on so 
good a pretext as when she first intimated that it would 
be quite open to me should I only care, as she called 
it, to throw the handkerchief to paint her beautiful 
sister-in-law. I need n't go here more than is essential 
into the question of Mrs. Munden, who would really, 
by the way, be a story in herself. She has a manner of 
her own of putting things, and some of those she has 
put to me ! Her implication was that Lady Bel- 
donald had n't only seen and admired certain exam- 
ples of my work, but had literally been prepossessed in 
favour of the painter's "personality." Had I been 
struck with this sketch I might easily have imagined 
her ladyship was throwing me the handkerchief. " She 
has n't done," my visitor said, "what she ought." 
"Do you mean she has done what she ought n't ?" 
"Nothing horrid oh dear no." And something 
in Mrs. Munden's tone, with the way she appeared to 
muse a moment, even suggested to me that what she 
"oughtn't" was perhaps what Lady Beldonald had 
too much neglected. "She has n't got on." 
"What's the matter with her?" 
"Well, to begin with, she's American." 
" But I thought that was the way of ways to get on." 
375 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

"It 's one of them. But it 's one of the ways of being 
awfully out of it too. There are so many! " 
"So many Americans ?" I asked. 
"Yes, plenty of them," Mrs. Munden sighed. "So 
many ways, I mean, of being one." 

" But if your sister-in-law's way is to be beauti- 
ful ?" 

"Oh there are different ways of that too/' 
"And she has n't taken the right way ?" 
"Well," my friend returned as if it were rather dif- 
ficult to express, "she has n't done with it " 
"I see," I laughed; "what she oughtn't!" 
Mrs. Munden in a manner corrected me, but it was 
difficult to express. "My brother at all events was 
certainly selfish. Till he died she was almost never in 
London; they wintered, year after year, for what he 
supposed to be his health which it did n't help, 
since he was so much too soon to meet his end in 
the south of France and in the dullest holes he could 
pick out, and when they came back to England he 
always kept her in the country. I must say for her 
that she always behaved beautifully. Since his death 
she has been more in London, but on a stupidly un- 
successful footing. I don't think she quite under- 
stands. She has n't what / should call a life. It may 
be of course that she does n't want one. That 's just 
what I can't exactly find out. I can't make out how 
much she knows." 

"I can easily make out," I returned with hilarity, 
"how much you do!" 

"Well, you 're very horrid. Perhaps she *s too old." 
"Too old for what ?" I persisted. 
376 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

"For anything. Of course she's no longer even a 
little young; only preserved oh but preserved, like 
bottled fruit, in syrup! I want to help her if only 
because she gets on my nerves, and I really think the 
way of it would be just the right thing of yours at 
the Academy and on the line/' 

"But suppose," I threw out, "she should give on 
my nerves ? " 

"Oh she will. But is n't that all in the day's work, 
and don't great beauties always ? " 

"You don't," I interrupted; but I at any rate saw 
Lady Beldonald later on the day came when her 
kinswoman brought her, and then I saw how her life 
must have its centre in her own idea of her appear- 
ance. Nothing else about her mattered one knew 
her all when one knew that. She 's indeed in one par- 
ticular, I think, sole of her kind a person whom 
vanity has had the odd effect of keeping positively safe 
and sound. This passion is supposed surely, for the 
most part, to be a principle of perversion and of 
injury, leading astray those who listen to it and land- 
ing them sooner or later in this or that complication; 
but it has landed her ladyship nowhere whatever it 
has kept her from the first moment of full conscious- 
ness, one feels, exactly in the same place. It has pro- 
tected her from every danger, has made her absolutely 
proper and prim. If she's "preserved," as Mrs. 
Munden originally described her to me, it *s her van- 
ity that has beautifully done it putting her years ago 
in a plate-glass case and closing up the receptacle 
against every breath of air. How should n't she be 
preserved when you might smash your knuckles on 

377 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

this transparency before you could crack it ? And she 
is oh amazingly ! Preservation is scarce the word 
for the rare condition of her surface. She looks 
naturally new, as if she took out every night her large 
lovely varnished eyes and put them in water. The 
thing was to paint her, I perceived, in the glass case 
a most tempting attaching feat; render to the full 
the shining interposing plate and the general show- 
window effect. 

It was agreed, though it was n't quite arranged, 
that she should sit to me. If it was n't quite arranged 
this was because, as I was made to understand from 
an early stage, the conditions from our start must be 
such as should exclude all elements of disturbance, 
such, in a word, as she herself should judge absolutely 
favourable. And it seemed that these conditions were 
easily imperilled. Suddenly, for instance, at a mo- 
ment when I was expecting her to meet an appoint- 
ment the first that I had proposed, I received a 
hurried visit from Mrs. Munden, who came on her 
behalf to let me know that the season happened just 
not to be propitious and that our friend could n't be 
quite sure, to the hour, when it would again become so. 
She felt nothing would make it so but a total absence 
of worry. 

"Oh a 'total absence/" I said, "is a large order! 
We live in a worrying world." 

" Yes ; and she feels exactly that more than you *d 
think. It 's in fact just why she must n't have, as she 
has now, a particular distress on at the very moment. 
She wants of course to look her best, and such things 
tell on her appearance." 

378 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

I shook my head. " Nothing tells on her appearance. 
Nothing reaches it in any way; nothing gets at it. 
However, I can understand her anxiety. But what's 
her particular distress ? " 

"Why the illness of Miss Dadd." 

"And who in the world's Miss Dadd ?" 

"Her most intimate friend and constant com- 
panion the lady who was with us here that first 
day/' 

" Oh the little round black woman who gurgled with 
admiration ? " 

"None other. But she was taken ill last week, and 
it may very well be that she '11 gurgle no more. She 
was very bad yesterday and is no better to-day, and 
Nina's much upset. If anything happens to Miss 
Dadd she '11 have to get another, and, though she has 
had two or three before, that won't be so easy." 

"Two or three Miss Dadds ? Is it possible ? And 
still wanting another ! " I recalled the poor lady com- 
pletely now. "No; I should n't indeed think it would 
be easy to get another. But why is a succession of them 
necessary to Lady Beldonald's existence?" 

" Can't you guess ? " Mrs. Munden looked deep, yet 
impatient. "They help." 

"Help what? Help whom?" 

"Why every one. You and me for instance. To do 
what ? Why to think Nina beautiful. She has them 
for that purpose; they serve as foils, as accents serve 
on syllables, as terms of comparison. They make her 
'stand out.' It's an effect of contrast that must be 
familiar to you artists; it's what a woman does when 
she puts a band of black velvet under a pearl orna- 

379 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

ment that may require, as she thinks, a little showing 
off." 

I wondered. "Do you mean she always has them 
black?" 

"Dear no; I've seen them blue, green, yellow. 
They may be what they like, so long as they're 
always one other thing/' 

"Hideous?" 

Mrs. Munden made a mouth for it. "Hideous is 
too much to say; she does n't really require them as 
bad as that. But consistently, cheerfully, loyally plain. 
It's really a most happy relation. She loves them 
fork." 

"And for what do they love her?" 

"Why just for the amiability that they produce in 
her. Then also for their 'home/ It's a career for 
them." 

"I see. But if that's the case," I asked, "why are 
they so difficult to find ?" 

"Oh they must be safe; it's all in that: her being 
able to depend on them to keep to the terms of the bar- 
gain and never have moments of rising as even the 
ugliest woman will now and then (say when she 's in 
love) superior to themselves." 

I turned it over. "Then if they can't inspire pas- 
sions the poor things mayn't even at least feel 
them?" 

"She distinctly deprecates it. That's why such a 
man as you may be after all a complication." 

I continued to brood. "You're very sure Miss 
Dadd's ailment is n't an affection that, being smoth- 
ered, has struck in ?" My joke, however, was n't well 

380 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

timed, for I afterwards learned that the unfortunate 
lady's state had been, even while I spoke, such as to 
forbid all hope. The worst symptoms had appeared ; 
she was destined not to recover; and a week later I 
heard from Mrs. Munden that she would in fact 
"gurgle" no more. 



II 

ALL this had been for Lady Beldonald an agitation so 
great that access to her apartment was denied for a 
time even to her sister-in-law. It was much more out 
of the question of course that she should unveil her 
face to a person of my special business with it; so that 
the question of the portrait was by common consent 
left to depend on that of the installation of a successor 
to her late companion. Such a successor, I gathered 
from Mrs. Munden, widowed childless and lonely, as 
well as inapt for the minor offices, she had absolutely 
to have; a more or less humble alter ego to deal with 
the servants, keep the accounts, make the tea and 
watch the window-blinds. Nothing seemed more nat- 
ural than that she should marry again, and obviously 
that might come; yet the predecessors of Miss Dadd 
had been contemporaneous with a first husband, so 
that others formed in her image might be contempo- 
raneous with a second. I was much occupied in those 
months at any rate, and these questions and their ram- 
ifications losing themselves for a while to my view, I 
was only brought back to them by Mrs. Munden *s ar- 
rival one day with the news that we were all right again 
her sister-in-law was once more "suited." A cer- 
tain Mrs. Brash, an American relative whom she 
had n't seen for years, but with whom she had con- 
tinued to communicate, was to come out to her imme- 
diately; and this person, it appeared, could be quite 
trusted to meet the conditions. She was ugly ugly 

382 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

enough, without abuse of it, and was unlimitedly good. 
The position offered her by Lady Beldonald was more- 
over exactly what she needed; widowed also, after 
many troubles and reverses, with her fortune of the 
smallest and her various children either buried or 
placed about, she had never had time or means to 
visit England, and would really be grateful in her de- 
clining years for the new experience and the pleasant 
light work involved in her cousin's hospitality. They 
had been much together early in life and Lady Bel- 
donald was immensely fond of her would in fact 
have tried to get hold of her before had n't Mrs. Brash 
been always in bondage to family duties, to the variety 
of her tribulations. I dare say I laughed at my friend's 
use of the term "position " the position, one might 
call it, of a candlestick or a sign-post, and I dare say I 
must have asked if the special service the poor lady 
was to render had been made clear to her. Mrs. 
Munden left me in any case with the rather droll image 
of her faring forth across the sea quite consciously and 
resignedly to perform it. 

The point of the communication had however been 
that my sitter was again looking up and would doubt- 
less, on the arrival and due initiation of Mr$, Brash, be 
in form really to wait on me. The situation must 
further, to my knowledge, have developed happily, for 
I arranged with Mrs. Munden that our friend, now all 
ready to begin, but wanting first just to see the things I 
had most recently done, should come once more, as a 
final preliminary, to my studio. A good foreign friend 
of mine, a French painter, Paul Outreau, was at the 
moment in London, and I had proposed, as he was 

383 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

much interested in types, to get together for his amuse- 
ment a small afternoon party. Every one came, my big 
room was full, there was music and a modest spread ; 
and I've not forgotten the light of admiration in 
Outreau's expressive face as at the end of half an hour 
he came up to me in his enthusiasm. "Bonte divine, 
mon cher que cette vieille est done belle ! " 

I had tried to collect all the beauty I could, and also 
all the youth, so that for a moment I was at a loss. I 
had talked to many people and provided for the 
music, and there were figures in the crowd that were 
still lost to me. "What old woman do you mean ?" 
"I don't know her name she was over by the 
door a moment ago. I asked somebody and was told, 
I think, that she's American." 

I looked about and saw one of my guests attach a 
pair of fine eyes to Outreau very much as if she knew 
he must be talking of her. "Oh Lady Beldonald! 
Yes, she's handsome; but the great point about her is 
that she has been 'put up* to keep, and that she 
would n't be flattered if she knew you spoke of her as 
old. A box of sardines is "old* only after it has been 
opened. Lady Beldonald never has yet been but 
I 'm going to do it." I joked, but I was somehow dis- 
appointed. It was a type that, with his unerring sense 
for the banal, I should n't have expected Outreau to 
pick out. 

"You're going to paint her? But, my dear man, 
she is painted and as neither you nor I can do it. 
Oii est-elle done ? " He had lost her, and I saw I had 
made a mistake. "She's the greatest of all the ereat 
Holbeins." * 

384 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

I was relieved. " Ah then not Lady Beldonald! But 
do I possess a Holbein of any price unawares ? " 

"There she is there she is! Dear, dear, dear, 
what a head ! " And I saw whom he meant and 
what : a small old lady in a black dress and a black 
bonnet, both relieved with a little white, who had evid- 
ently just changed her place to reach a corner from 
which more of the room and of the scene was pre- 
sented to her. She appeared unnoticed and unknown, 
and I immediately recognised that some other guest 
must have brought her and, for want of opportunity, 
had as yet to call my attention to her. But two things, 
simultaneously with this and with each other, struck 
me with force; one of them the truth of Outreau's 
description of her, the other the fact that the person 
bringing her could only have been Lady Beldonald. 
She was a Holbein of the first water; yet she was 
also Mrs. Brash, the imported "foil/* the indispens- 
able "accent," the successor to the dreary Miss 
Dadd ! By the time I had put these things together 
Outreau's "American" having helped me I was in 
just such full possession of her face as I had found my- 
self, on the other first occasion, of that of her patron- 
ess. Only with so different a consequence. I could n't 
look at her enough, and I stared and stared till I be- 
came aware she might have fancied me challenging 
her as a person unpresented. "All the same," Outreau 
went on, equally held, "c'est une tete a faire. If I were 
only staying long enough for a crack at her ! But I tell 
you what" and he seized my arm "bring her 
over!" 

"Over?" 

385 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

"To Paris. She'd have a succes fou" 

"Ah thanks, my dear fellow/' I was now quite in a 
position to say; "she's the handsomest thing in Lon- 
don, and" for what I might do with her was 
already before me with intensity "I propose to 
keep her to myself." It was before me with intensity, 
in the light of Mrs. Brash's distant perfection of a little 
white old face, in which every wrinkle was the touch 
of a master; but something else, I suddenly felt, was 
not less so, for Lady Beldonald, in the other quarter, 
and though she could n't have made out the subject of 
our notice, continued to fix us, and her eyes had the 
challenge of those of the woman of consequence who 
has missed something. A moment later I was close to 
her, apologising first for not having been more on the 
spot at her arrival, but saying in the next breath un- 
controllably : "Why my dear lady, it's a Holbein!" 

"A Holbein? What?" 

"Why the wonderful sharp old face so extra- 
ordinarily, consummately drawn in the frame of 
black velvet. That of Mrs. Brash, I mean is n't it 
her name ? your companion." 

This was the beginning of a most odd matter the 
essence of my anecdote; and I think the very first note 
of the oddity must have sounded for me in the tone in 
which her ladyship spoke after giving me a silent look. 
It seemed to come to me out of a distance immeasur- 
ably removed from Holbein. "Mrs. Brash is n't my 
'companion * in the sense you appear to mean. She *s 
my rather near relation and a very dear old friend. I 
love her and you must know her." 
"Know her? Rather! Why to see her is to want 
386 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 
on the spot to *go' for her. She also must sit for 



me." 



"She? Louisa Brash?" If Lady Beldonald had the 
theory that her beauty directly showed it when things 
weren't well with her, this impression, which the 
fixed sweetness of her serenity had hitherto struck me 
by no means as justifying, gave me now my first 
glimpse of its grounds. It was as if I had never before 
seen her face invaded by anything I should have 
called an expression. This expression moreover was 
of the faintest was like the effect produced on a 
surface by an agitation both deep within and as yet 
much confused. "Have you told her so?" she then 
quickly asked, as if to soften the sound of her sur- 
prise. 

"Dear no, I've but just noticed her Outreau a 
moment ago put me on her. But we *re both so taken, 
and he also wants " 

"To paint her?" Lady Beldonald uncontrollably 
murmured. 

"Don't be afraid we shall fight for her," I returned 
with a laugh for this tone. Mrs. Brash was still where 
I could see her without appearing to stare, and she 
might n't have seen I was looking at her, though her 
protectress, I *m afraid, could scarce have failed of that 
certainty. "We must each take our turn, and at any 
rate she 's a wonderful thing, so that if you '11 let her go 
to Paris Outreau promises her there " 

"There?" my companion gasped. 

"A career bigger still than among us, as he con- 
siders we have n't half their eye. He guarantees her 
a succes fou." 

387 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

She couldn't get over it. "Louisa Brash? In 
Paris?" 

"They do see," I went on, "more than we; and they 
live extraordinarily, don't you know, in that. But 
she'll do something here too." 
"And what will she do?" 

If frankly now I could n't help giving Mrs. Brash a 
longer look, so after it I could as little resist sounding 
my converser. "You'll see. Only give her time." 

She said nothing during the moment in which she 
met my eyes; but then: "Time, it seems to me, is 
exactly what you and your friend want. If you 
have n't talked with her " 

" We have n't seen her ? Oh we see bang off with 
a click like a steel spring. It 's our trade, it *snar life, 
and we should be donkeys if we made mistakes. 
That's the way I saw you yourself, my lady, if I may 
say so ; that 's the way, with a long pin straight through 
your body, I 've got you. And just so I 've got her! " 

All this, for reasons, had brought my guest to her 
feet; but her eyes had while we talked never once 
followed the direction of mine. "You call her a Hol- 
bein?" 

"Outreau did, and I of course immediately recog- 
nised it. Don't you? She brings the old boy to life! 
It's just as I should call you a Titian. You bring him 
to life." 

She could n't be said to relax, because she could n't 
be said to have hardened; but something at any rate 
on this took place in her something indeed quite 
disconnected from what I would have called her. 
"Don't you understand that she has always been sup- 

388 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

posed ? " It had the ring of impatience; neverthe- 
less it stopped short on a scruple. 

I knew what it was, however, well enough to say it 
for her if she preferred. "To be nothing whatever to 
look at ? To be unfortunately plain or even if you 
like repulsively ugly ? Oh yes, I understand it per- 
fectly, just as I understand I have to as a part of 
my trade many other forms of stupidity. It 9 s no- 
thing new to one that ninety-nine people out of a hun- 
dred have no eyes, no sense, no taste. There are whole 
communities impenetrably sealed. I don't say your 
friend *s a person to make the men turn round in 
Regent Street. But it adds to the joy of the few who do 
see that they have it so much to themselves. Where in 
the world can she have lived ? You must tell me all 
about that or rather, if she'll be so good, she 
must." 

"You mean then to speak to her ?" 

I wondered as she pulled up again. "Of her 
beauty?" 

"Her beauty!" cried Lady Beldonald so loud that 
two or three persons looked round. 

"Ah with every precaution of respect!" I declared 
in a much lower tone. But her back was by this time 
turned to me, and in the movement, as it were, one of 
the strangest little dramas I *ve ever known was well 
launched. 



Ill 

IT was a drama of small smothered intensely private 
things, and I knew of but one other person in the 
secret; yet that person and I found it exquisitely sus- 
ceptible of notation, followed it with an interest the 
mutual communication of which did much for our 
enjoyment, and were present with emotion at its 
touching catastrophe. The small case for so small 
a case had made a great stride even before my little 
party separated, and in fact within the next ten min- 
utes. 

In that space of time two things had happened ; one 
of which was that I made the acquaintance of Mrs. 
Brash, and the other that Mrs. Munden reached me, 
cleaving the crowd, with one of her usual pieces of 
news. What she had to impart was that, on her having 
just before asked Nina if the conditions of our sitting 
had been arranged with me, Nina had replied, with 
something like perversity, that she did n't propose to 
arrange them, that the whole affair was "off" again 
and that she preferred not to be further beset for the 
present. The question for Mrs. Munden was naturally 
what had happened and whether I understood. Oh I 
understood perfectly, and what I at first most under- 
stood was that even when I had brought in the name 
of Mrs. Brash intelligence was n't yet in Mrs. 
Munden. She was quite as surprised as Lady Bel- 
donald had been on hearing of the esteem in which I 

390 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

held Mrs. Brash's appearance. She was stupefied at 
learning that I had just in my ardour proposed to its 
proprietress to sit to me. Only she came round 
promptly which Lady Beldonald really never did. 
Mrs. Munden was in fact wonderful; for when I had 
given her quickly "Why she's a Holbein, you know, 
absolutely/* she took it up, after a first fine vacancy, 
with an immediate abysmal "Oh is she?" that, as a 
piece of social gymnastics, did her the greatest honour ; 
and she was in fact the first in London to spread the 
tidings. For a face-about it was magnificent. But she 
was also the first, I must add, to see what would really 
happen though this she put before me only a week 
or two later. " It will kill her, my dear that *s what 
it will do!" 

She meant neither more nor less than that it would 
kill Lady Beldonald if I were to paint Mrs. Brash; for 
at this lurid light had we arrived in so short a space of 
time. It was for me to decide whether my aesthetic 
need of giving life to my idea was such as to justify me 
in destroying it in a woman after all in most eyes so 
beautiful. The situation was indeed sufficiently queer; 
for it remained to be seen what I should positively 
gain by giving up Mrs. Brash. I appeared to have in 
any case lost Lady Beldonald, now too "upset" it 
was always Mrs. Munden's word about her and, as I 
inferred, her own about herself to meet me again 
on our previous footing. The only thing, I of course 
soon saw, was to temporise to drop the whole ques- 
tion for the present and yet so far as possible keep each 
of the pair in view. I may as well say at once that this 
plan and this process gave their principal interest to 

391 



THEBELDONALD HOLBEIN 

the next several months. Mrs. Brash had turned up, 
if I remember, early in the new year, and her little 
wonderful career was in our particular circle one of 
the features of the following season. It was at all 
events for myself the most attaching; it 's not my fault 
if I am so put together as often to find more life in situ- 
ations obscure and subject to interpretation than in 
the gross rattle of the foreground. And there were all 
sorts of things, things touching, amusing, mystifying 
and above all such an instance as I had never yet 
met in this funny little fortune of the useful Ameri- 
can cousin. Mrs. Munden was promptly at one with 
me as to the rarity and, to a near and human view, the 
beauty and interest of the position. We had neither of 
us ever before seen that degree and that special sort of 
personal success come to a woman for the first time so 
late in life. I found it an example of poetic, of abso- 
lutely retributive justice; so that my desire grew great 
to work it, as we say, on those lines. I had seen it all 
from the original moment at my studio; the poor lady 
had never known an hour's appreciation which 
moreover, in perfect good faith, she had never missed. 
The very first thing I did after inducing so unin- 
tentionally the resentful retreat of her protectress had 
been to go straight over to her and say almost without 
preliminaries that I should hold myself immeasurably 
obliged for a few patient sittings. What I thus came 
face to face with was, on the instant, her whole unen- 
lightened past and the full, if foreshortened, revelation 
of what among us all was now unfailingly in store for 
her. To turn the handle and start that tune came to 
me on the spot as a temptation. Here was a poor lady 

392 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

who had waited for the approach of old age to find out 
what she was worth. Here was a benighted being to 
whom it was to be disclosed in her fifty-seventh year 
I was to make that out that she had something that 
might pass for a face. She looked much more than her 
age, and was fairly frightened as if I had been try- 
ing on her some possibly heartless London trick 
when she had taken in my appeal. That showed me in 
what an air she had lived and as I should have been 
tempted to put it had I spoken out among what 
children of darkness. Later on I did them more just- 
ice; saw more that her wonderful points must have 
been points largely the fruit of time, and even that pos- 
sibly she might never in all her life have looked so well 
as at this particular moment. It might have been that 
if her hour had struck I just happened to be present at 
the striking. What had occurred, all the same, was 
at the worst a notable comedy. 

The famous "irony of fate" takes many forms, but 
I had never yet seen it take quite this one. She had 
been "had over " on an understanding, and she was n't 
playing fair. She had broken the law of her ugliness 
and had turned beautiful on the hands of her em- 
ployer. More interesting even perhaps than a view of 
the conscious triumph that this might prepare for her, 
and of which, had I doubted of my own judgement, I 
could still take Outreau's fine start as the full guaran- 
tee more interesting was the question of the process 
by which such a history could get itself enacted. The 
curious thing was that all the while the reasons of her 
having passed for plain the reasons for Lady Bel- 
donald's fond calculation, which they quite justified 

393 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

were written large in her face, so large that it was 
easy to understand them as the only ones she herself 
had ever read. What was it then that actually made 
the old stale sentence mean something so different ? 
into what new combinations, what extraordinary lan- 
guage, unknown but understood at a glance, had time 
and life translated it ? The only thing to be said was 
that time and life were artists who beat us all, working 
with recipes and secrets we could never find out. I 
really ought to have, like a lecturer or a showman, a 
chart or a blackboard to present properly the relation, 
in the wonderful old tender battered blanched face, 
between the original elements and the exquisite final 
" style." I could do it with chalks, but I can scarcely 
do it with words. However, the thing was, for any art- 
ist who respected himself, to feel it which I abund- 
antly did ; and then not to conceal from her I felt it 
which I neglected as little. But she was really, to do 
her complete justice, the last to understand ; and I 'm 
not sure that, to the end for there was an end she 
quite made it all out or knew where she was. When you 
've been brought up for fifty years on black it must 
be hard to adjust your organism at a day's notice to 
gold-colour. Her whole nature had been pitched in the 
key of her supposed plainness. She had known how to 
be ugly it was the only thing she had learnt save, if 
possible, how not to mind it. Being beautiful took in 
any case a new set of muscles. It was on the prior 
conviction, literally, that she had developed her ad- 
mirable dress, instinctively felicitous, always either 
black or white and a matter of rather severe square- 
ness and studied line. She was magnificently neat; 

394 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

everything has showed had a way of looking both old 
and fresh ; and there was on every occasion the same 
picture in her draped head draped in low-falling 
black and the fine white plaits (of a painter's 
white, somehow) disposed on her chest. What had 
happened was that these arrangements, determined by 
certain considerations, lent themselves in effect much 
better to certain others. Adopted in mere shy silence 
they had really only deepened her accent. It was sin- 
gular, moreover, that, so constituted, there was no- 
thing in her aspect of the ascetic or the nun. She was a 
good hard sixteenth-century figure, not withered with 
innocence, bleached rather by life in the open. She 
was in short just what we had made of her, a Holbein 
for a great museum ; and our position, Mrs. M undents 
and mine, rapidly became that of persons having such 
a treasure to dispose of. The world I speak of 
course mainly of the art-world flocked to see it. 



IV 

"BUT has she any idea herself, poor thingj" was the 
way I had put it to Mrs. Munden on our next meeting 
after the incident at my studio; with the effect, how- 
ever, only of leaving my friend at first to take me as 
alluding to Mrs. Brash's possible prevision of the chat- 
ter she might create. I had my own sense of that 
this prevision had been nil; the question was of her 
consciousness of the office for which Lady Beldonald 
had counted on her and for which we were so promptly 
proceeding to spoil her altogether. 

"Oh I think she arrived with a goodish notion," 
Mrs. Munden had replied when I had explained; "for 
she 's clever too, you know, as well as good-looking, 
and I don't see how, if she ever really knew Nina, she 
could have supposed for a moment that she was n't 
wanted for whatever she might have left to give up. 
Has n't she moreover always been made to feel that 
she 's ugly enough for anything ? " It was even at this 
point already wonderful how my friend had mastered 
the case and what lights, alike for its past and its 
future, she was prepared to throw on it. " If she has 
seen herself as ugly enough for anything she has seen 
herself and that was the only way as ugly 
enough for Nina; and she has had her own manner of 
showing that she understands without making Nina 
commit herself to anything vulgar. Women are never 
without ways for doing such things both for com- 

396 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

municating and receiving knowledge that I can't 
explain to you, and that you would n't understand if I 
could, since you must be a woman even to do that. I 
dare say they 've expressed it all to each other simply 
in the language of kisses. But does n't it at any rate 
make something rather beautiful of the relation be- 
tween them as affected by our discovery ? " 

I had a laugh for her plural possessive. "The point 
is of course that if there was a conscious bargain, and 
our action on Mrs. Brash is to deprive her of the sense 
of keeping her side of it, various things may happen 
that won't be good either for her or for ourselves. She 
may conscientiously throw up the position." 

"Yes," my companion mused "for she is con- 
scientious. Or Nina, without waiting for that, may 
cast her forth." 

I faced it all. "Then we should have to keep her." 

"As a regular model ? " Mrs. Munden was ready for 
anything. "Oh that would be lovely!" 

But I further worked it out. "The difficulty is that 
she *s not a model, hang it that she 's too good for 
one, that she's the very thing herself. When Outreau 
and I have each had our go, that will be all; there'll 
be nothing left for any one else. Therefore it behoves 
us quite to understand that our attitude 's a respons- 
ibility. If we can't do for her positively more than 
Nina does " 

"We must let her alone ?" My companion contin- 
ued to muse. " I see ! " 

"Yet don't," I returned, "see too much. We can do 



more." 



'Than Nina?" She was again on the spot. "It 
397 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

would n't after all be difficult. We only want the 
directly opposite thing and which is the only one 
the poor dear can give. Unless indeed," she sug- 
gested, "we simply retract we back out/' 

I turned it over. "It's too late for that. Whether 
Mrs. Brash's peace is gone I can't say. But Nina's 



is." 



"Yes, and there's no way to bring it back that 
won't sacrifice her friend. We can't turn round and 
say Mrs. Brash is ugly, can we ? But fancy Nina's not 
having seen! "Mrs. Munden exclaimed. 

"She doesn't see now," I answered. "She can't, 
I 'm certain, make out what we mean. The woman, 
for her still, is just what she always was. But she has 
nevertheless had her stroke, and her blindness, while 
she wavers and gropes in the dark, only adds to her 
discomfort. Her blow was to see the attention of the 
world deviate." 

"All the same I don't think, you know," my inter- 
locutress said, "that Nina will have made her a scene 
or that, whatever we do, she'll ever make her one. 
That is n't the way it will happen, for she 's exactly as 
conscientious as Mrs. Brash." 
"Then what is the way?" I asked. 
"It will just happen in silence." 
"And what will 'it,' as you call it, be ?" 
"Is n't that what we want really to see ?" 
"Well," I replied after a turn or two about, 
"whether we want it or not it's exactly what we shall 
see; which is a reason the more for fancying, between 
the pair there in the quiet exquisite house, and full 
of superiorities and suppressions as they both are 

398 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

the extraordinary situation. If I said just now that it 's 
too late to do anything but assent it *s because I Ve 
taken the full measure of what happened at my studio. 
It took but a few moments but she tasted of the 
tree." 

My companion wondered. "Nina?" 

"Mrs. Brash." And to have to put it so ministered, 
while I took yet another turn, to a sort of agitation. 
Our attitude was a responsibility. 

But I had suggested something else to my friend, 
who appeared for a moment detached. "Should you 
say she '11 hate her worse if she does n't see ? " 

" Lady Beldonald ? Does n't see what we see, you 
mean, than if she does ? Ah I give that up ! " I laughed. 
" But what I can tell you is why I hold that, as I said 
just now, we can do most. We can do this : we can 
give to a harmless and sensitive creature hitherto prac- 
tically disinherited and give with an unexpected- 
ness that will immensely add to its price the pure 
joy of a deep draught of the very pride of life, of an 
acclaimed personal triumph in our superior sophis- 
ticated world." 

Mrs. Munden had a glow of response for my sud- 
den eloquence. "Oh it will be beautiful!" 



WELL, that 's what, on the whole and in spite of every- 
thing, it really was. It has dropped into my memory 
a rich little gallery of pictures, a regular panorama of 
those occasions that were to minister to the view from 
which I had so for a moment extracted a lyric in- 
spiration. I see Mrs. Brash on each of these occasions 
practically enthroned and surrounded and more or 
less mobbed ; see the hurrying and the nudging and the 
pressing and the staring; see the people "making up " 
and introduced, and catch the word when they have 
had their turn; hear it above all, the great one 
"Ah yes, the famous Holbein ! " passed about with 
that perfection of promptitude that makes the motions 
of the London mind so happy a mixture of those of 
the parrot and the sheep. Nothing would be easier 
of course than to tell the whole little tale with an eye 
only for that silly side of it. Great was the silliness, 
but great also as to this case of poor Mrs. Brash, I 
will say for it, the good nature. Of course, further- 
more, it took in particular "our set," with its positive 
child-terror of the banal, to be either so foolish or so 
wise; though indeed I've never quite known where 
our set begins and ends, and have had to content my- 
self on this score with the indication once given me by 
a lady next whom I was placed at dinner: "Oh it's 
bounded on the north by Ibsen and on the south by 
Sargent!" Mrs. Brash never sat to me; she abso- 

400 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

lutely declined; and when she declared that it was 
quite enough for her that I had with that fine precip- 
itation invited her, I quite took this as she meant it; 
before we had gone very far our understanding, hers 
and mine, was complete. Her attitude was as happy 
as her success was prodigious. The sacrifice of the 
portrait was a sacrifice to the true inwardness of Lady 
Beldonald, and did much, for the time, I divined, 
toward muffling their domestic tension. All it was 
thus in her power to say and I heard of a few cases 
of her having said it was that she was sure I would 
have painted her beautifully if she had n't prevented 
me. She could n't even tell the truth, which was that 
I certainly would have done so if Lady Beldonald 
had n't; and she never could mention the subject at 
all before that personage. I can only describe the 
affair, naturally, from the outside, and heaven forbid 
indeed that I should try too closely to reconstruct the 
possible strange intercourse of these good friends at 
home. 

My anecdote, however, would lose half the point 
it may have to show were I to omit all mention of the 
consummate turn her ladyship appeared gradually 
to have found herself able to give her deportment. 
She had made it impossible I should myself bring up 
our old, our original question, but there was real dis- 
tinction in her manner of now accepting certain other 
possibilities. Let me do her that justice; her effort 
at magnanimity must have been immense. There 
could n't fail of course to be ways in which poor Mrs. 
Brash paid for it. How much she had to pay we were 
in fact soon enough to see; and it 's my intimate con- 

401 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

viction that, as a climax, her life at last was the price. 
But while she lived at least and it was with an in- 
tensity, for those wondrous weeks, of which she had 
never dreamed Lady Beldonald herself faced the 
music. This is what I mean by the possibilities, by the 
sharp actualities indeed, that she accepted. She took 
our friend out, she showed her at home, never at- 
tempted to hide or to betray her, played her no trick 
whatever so long as the ordeal lasted. She drank deep, 
on her side too, of the cup the cup that for her own 
lips could only be bitterness. There was, I think, 
scarce a special success of her companion's at which 
she was n't personally present. Mrs. Munden's theory 
of the silence in which all this would be muffled for 
them was none the less, and in abundance, confirmed 
by our observations. The whole thing was to be the 
death of one or the other of them, but they never 
spoke of it at tea. I remember even that Nina went so 
far as to say to me once, looking me full in the eyes, 

quite sublimely, "I've made out what you mean 

she is a picture/' The beauty of this moreover was 
that, as Fm persuaded, she had n't really made it 
out at all the words were the mere hypocrisy of her 
reflective endeavour for virtue. She could n't possibly 
have made it out; her friend was as much as ever 
"dreadfully plain" to her; she must have wondered 
to the last what on earth possessed us. Would n't it in 
fact have been after all just this failure of vision, this 
supreme stupidity in short, that kept the catastrophe 
so long at bay ? There was a certain sense of greatness 
for her in seeing so many of us so absurdly mistaken; 
and I recall that on various occasions, and in particu- 

402 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

lar when she uttered the words just quoted, this high 
serenity, as a sign of the relief of her soreness, if not 
of the effort of her conscience, did something quite 
visible to my eyes, and also quite unprecedented, for 
the beauty of her face. She got a real lift from it 
such a momentary discernible sublimity that I recol- 
lect coming out on the spot with a queer crude 
amused "Do you know I believe I could paint you 
now?" 

She was a fool not to have closed with me then and 
there; for what has happened since has altered every- 
thing what was to happen a little later was so much 
more than I could swallow. This was the disappear- 
ance of the famous Holbein from one day to the other 
producing a consternation among us all as great 
as if the Venus of Milo had suddenly vanished from 
the Louvre. "She has simply shipped her straight 
back " the explanation was given in that form by 
Mrs. Munden, who added that any cord pulled tight 
enough would end at last by snapping. At the snap, 
in any case, we mightily jumped, for the masterpiece 
we had for three or four months been living with had 
made us feel its presence as a luminous lesson and a 
daily need. We recognised more than ever that it had 
been, for high finish, the gem of our collection we 
found what a blank it left on the wall. Lady Beldonald 
might fill up the blank, but we could n't. That she 
did soon fill it up and, heaven help us, how ? 
was put before me after an interval of no great length, 
but during which I had n't seen her. I dined on the 
Christmas of last year at Mrs. Munden's, and Nina, 
with a "scratch lot," as our hostess said, was there, so 

403 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

that, the preliminary wait being longish, she could 
approach me very sweetly. "I '11 come to you to-mor- 
row if you like," she said; and the effect of it, after a 
first stare at her, was to make me look all round. I 
took in, by these two motions, two things; one of 
which was that, though now again so satisfied herself 
of her high state, she could give me nothing com- 
parable to what I should have got had she taken me 
up at the moment of my meeting her on her distin- 
guished concession; the other that she was "suited" 
afresh and that Mrs. Brash's successor was fully in- 
stalled, Mrs. Brash's successor was at the other side 
of the room, and I became conscious that Mrs. Mun- 
den was waiting to see my eyes seek her. I guessed 
the meaning of the wait; what was one, this time, to 
say? Oh first and foremost assuredly that it was 
immensely droll, for this time at least there was no 
mistake. The lady I looked upon, and as to whom 
my friend, again quite at sea, appealed to me for a 
formula, was as little a Holbein, or a specimen of any 
other school, as she was, like Lady Beldonald herself, 
a Titian. The formula was easy to give, for the 
amusement was that her prettiness yes, literally, 
prodigiously, her prettiness was distinct. Lady 
Beldonald had been magnificent had been almost 
intelligent. Miss What Vher-name continues pretty, 
continues even young, and does n't matter a straw! 
She matters so ideally little that Lady Beldonald is 
practically safer, I judge, than she has ever been. 
There has n't been a symptom of chatter about this 
person, and I believe her protectress is much sur- 
prised that we're not more struck. 

404 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

It was at any rate strictly impossible to me to make 
an appointment for the day as to which I have just 
recorded Nina's proposal; and the turn of events 
since then has not quickened my eagerness. Mrs. 
Munden remained in correspondence with Mrs. Brash 
to the extent, that is, of three letters, each of which 
she showed me. They so told to our imagination her 
terrible little story that we were quite prepared or 
thought we were for her going out like a snuffed 
candle. She resisted, on her return to her original 
conditions, less than a year; the taste of the tree, as I 
had called it, had been fatal to her; what she had con- 
tentedly enough lived without before for half a century 
she could n't now live without for a day. I know no- 
thing of her original conditions some minor Ameri- 
can city save that for her to have gone back to 
them was clearly to have stepped out of her frame. 
We performed, Mrs. Munden and I, a small funeral 
service for her by talking it all over and making it all 
out. It was n't the minor American city a 
market for Holbeins, and what had occurred was that 
the poor old picture, banished from its museum and 
refreshed by the rise of no new movement to hang it, 
was capable of the miracle of a silent revolution, of 
itself turning, in its dire dishonour, its face to the wall. 
So it stood, without the intervention of the ghost of a 
critic, till they happened to pull it round again and 
find it mere dead paint. Well, it had had, if that 's 
anything, its season of fame, its name on a thousand 
tongues and printed in capitals in the catalogue. We 
had n't been at fault. I have n't, all the same, the 
least note of her not a scratch. And I did her so in 

405 



THE BELDONALD HOLBEIN 

intention! Mrs. Munden continues to remind me, 
however, that this is not the sort of rendering with 
which, on the other side, after all, Lady Beldonald 
proposes to content herself. She has come back to the 
question of her own portrait. Let me settle it then at 
last. Since she will have the real thing well, hang 
it, she shall ! 



THE STORY IN IT 



THE STORY IN IT 

I 

THE weather had turned so much worse that the rest 
of the day was certainly lost. The wind had risen and 
the storm gathered force; they gave from time to time 
a thump at the firm windows and dashed even against 
those protected by the verandah their vicious splotches 
of rain. Beyond the lawn, beyond the cliff, the great 
wet brush of the sky dipped deep into the sea. But 
the lawn, already vivid with the touch of May, showed 
a violence of watered green ; the budding shrubs and 
trees repeated the note as they tossed their thick 
masses, and the cold troubled light, filling the pretty 
saloon, marked the spring afternoon as sufficiently 
young. The two ladies seated there in silence could 
pursue without difficulty as well as, clearly, with- 
out interruption their respective tasks ; a confidence 
expressed, when the noise of the wind allowed it to be 
heard, by the sharp scratch of Mrs. Dyott's pen at the 
table where she was busy with letters. 

Her visitor, settled on a small sofa that, with a palm- 
tree, a screen, a stool, a stand, a bowl of flowers and 
three photographs in silver frames, had been arranged 
near the light wood-fire as a choice "corner" 
Maud Blessingbourne, her guest, turned audibly, 
though at intervals neither brief nor regular, the leaves 
of a book covered in lemon-coloured paper and not 

409 



THE STORY IN IT 

yet despoiled of a certain fresh crispness. This effect 
of the volume, for the eye, would have made it, as 
presumably the newest French novel and evidently, 
from the attitude of the reader, "good " consort 
happily with the special tone of the room, a consistent 
air of selection and suppression, one of the finer 
aesthetic evolutions. If Mrs. Dyott was fond of ancient 
French furniture and distinctly difficult about it, her 
inmates could be fond with whatever critical cocks 
of charming dark-braided heads over slender sloping 
shoulders of modern French authors. Nothing had 
passed for half an hour nothing at least, to be 
exact, but that each of the companions occasionally 
and covertly intermitted her pursuit in such a manner 
as to ascertain the degree of absorption of the other 
without turning round. What their silence was 
charged with therefore was not only a sense of the 
weather, but a sense, so to speak, of its own nature. 
Maud Blessingbourne, when she lowered her book 
into her lap, closed her eyes with a conscious patience 
that seemed to say she waited; but it was nevertheless 
she who at last made the movement representing 
a snap of their tension. She got up and stood by the 
fire, into which she looked a minute; then came round 
and approached the window as if to see what was 
really going on. At this Mrs. Dyott wrote with re- 
freshed intensity. Her little pile of letters had grown, 
and if a look of determination was compatible with 
her fair and slightly faded beauty the habit of attend- 
ing to her business could always keep pace with any 
excursion of her thought. Yet she was the first who 
spoke, 

410 



THE STORY IN IT 

"I trust your book has been interesting/* 

"Well enough; a little mild." 

A louder throb of the tempest had blurred the 
sound of the words. "A little wild ?" 

"Dear no timid and tame; unless I Ve quite lost 
my sense/' 

" Perhaps you have," Mrs. Dyott placidly suggested 
"reading so many." 

Her companion made a motion of feigned despair. 
"Ah you take away my courage for going to my 
room, as I was just meaning to, for another." 

"Another French one ? " 

"Fm afraid." 

"Do you carry them by the dozen ?" 

"Into innocent British homes?" Maud tried to 
remember. "I believe I brought three seeing them 
in a shop-window as I passed through town. It never 
rains but it pours ! But I Ve already read two/ 7 

"And are they the only ones you do read ?" 

"French ones?" Maud considered. "Oh no. 
D'Annunzio." 

"And what's that?" Mrs. Dyott asked as she 
affixed a stamp. 

"Oh you dear thing ! " Her friend was amused, yet 
almost showed pity. " I know you don't read," Maud 
went on ; " but why should you ? Ton live ! " 

"Yes wretchedly enough," Mrs. Dyott returned, 
getting her letters together. She left her place, hold- 
ing them as a neat achieved handful, and came over 
to the fire while Mrs. Blessingbourne turned once 
more to the window, where she was met by another 
flurry. 

411 



THE STORY IN IT 

Maud spoke then as if moved only by the elements. 
"Do you expect him through all this ?" 

Mrs. Dyott just waited, and it had the effect, inde- 
scribably, of making everything that had gone before 
seem to have led up to the question. This effect was 
even deepened by the way she then said "Whom do 
you mean ? " 

"Why I thought you mentioned at luncheon that 
Colonel Voyt was to walk over. Surely he can't/' 
"Do you care very much ?" Mrs. Dyott asked. 
Her friend now hesitated. " It depends on what you 
call 'much/ If you mean should I like to see him 
then certainly/' 

"Well, my dear, I think he understands you're 
here." 

"So that as he evidently isn't coming," Maud 
laughed, "it's particularly flattering! Or rather," she 
added, giving up the prospect again, "it would be, 
I think, quite extraordinarily flattering if he did. 
Except that of course," she threw in, "he might come 
partly for you." 

"' Partly ' is charming. Thank you for 'partly/ If 
you are going upstairs, will you kindly," Mrs. Dyott 
pursued, "put these into the box as you pass ?" 

The younger woman, taking the little pile of letters, 
considered them with envy. "Nine! You are good. 
You 're always a living reproach ! " 

Mrs. Dyott gave a sigh. "I don't do it on purpose. 
The only thing, this afternoon," she went on, revert- 
ing to the other question, "would be their not having 
come down." 

"And as to that you don't know." 
412 



THE STORY IN IT 

"No I don't know." But she caught even as she 
spoke a rat-tat-tat of the knocker, which struck her as 
a sign. "Ah there 1" 

"Then I go." And Maud whisked out. 

Mrs. Dyott, left alone, moved with an air of selec- 
tion to the window, and it was as so stationed, gazing 
out at the wild weather, that the visitor, whose delay 
to appear spoke of the wiping of boots and the dis- 
posal of drenched mackintosh and cap, finally found 
her. He was tall lean fine, with little in him, on the 
whole, to confirm the titular in the " Colonel Voyt " 
by which he was announced. But he had left the 
army, so that his reputation for gallantry mainly 
depended now on his fighting Liberalism in the 
House of Commons. Even these facts, however, his 
aspect scantily matched ; partly, no doubt, because he 
looked, as was usually said, un-English. His black 
hair, cropped close, was lightly powdered with silver, 
and his dense glossy beard, that of an emir or a caliph, 
and grown for civil reasons, repeated its handsome 
colour and its somewhat foreign effect. His nose had a 
strong and shapely arch, and the dark grey of his eyes 
was tinted with blue. It had been said of him in 
relation to these signs that he would have struck 
you as a Jew had he not, in spite of his nose, struck 
you so much as an Irishman. Neither responsibility 
could in fact have been fixed upon him, and just now, 
at all events, he was only a pleasant weather-washed 
wind-battered Briton, who brought in from a struggle 
with the elements that he appeared quite to have 
enjoyed a certain amount of unremoved mud and an 
unusual quantity of easy expression. It was exactly 



THE STORY IN IT 

the silence ensuing on the retreat of the servant and 
the closed door that marked between him and his 
hostess the degree of this ease. They met, as it were, 
twice : the first time while the servant was there and 
the second as soon as he was not. The difference was 
great between the two encounters, though we must 
add in justice to the second that its marks were at first 
mainly negative. This communion consisted only in 
their having drawn each other for a minute as close as 
possible as possible, that is, with no help but the 
full clasp of hands. Thus they were mutually held, 
and the closeness was at any rate such that, for a little, 
though it took account of dangers, it did without 
words. When words presently came the pair were 
talking by the fire and she had rung for tea. He had 
by this time asked if the note he had dispatched to 
her after breakfast had been safely delivered. 

"Yes, before luncheon. But I'm always in a state 
when except for some extraordinary reason you 
send such things by hand. I knew, without it, that 
you had come. It never fails. I 'm sure when you 're 
there I 'm sure when you 're not." 

He wiped, before the glass, his wet moustache. "I 
see. But this morning I had an impulse." 

"It was beautiful. But they make me as uneasy, 
sometimes, your impulses, as if they were calcu- 
lations; make me wonder what you have in re- 



serve." 



"Because when small children are too awfully good 
they die ? Well, I am a small child compared to you 
but I 'm not dead yet. I cling to life," 

He had covered her with his smile, but she con- 
414 



THE STORY IN IT 

tinued grave. "I'm not half so much afraid when 
you're nasty." 

"Thank you! What then did you do," he asked, 
"with my note?" 

"You deserve that I should have spread it out on 
my dressing-table or left it, better still, in Maud 
Blessingbourne's room." 

He wondered while he laughed. " Oh but what does 
she deserve ? " 

It was her gravity that continued to answer. "Yes 
it would probably kill her." 

" She believes so in you ? " 

"She believes so in you. So don't be too nice to 
her." 

He was still looking, in the chimney-glass, at the 
state of his beard brushing from it, with his hand- 
kerchief, the traces of wind and wet. " If she also 
then prefers me when I 'm nasty it seems to me I 
ought to satisfy her. Shall I now at any rate see 
her?" 

"She's so like a pea on a pan over the possibil- 
ity of it that she's pulling herself together in her 



room." 



"Oh then we must try and keep her together. But 
why, graceful tender, pretty too quite or almost as 
she is does n't she re-marry ? " 

Mrs. Dyott appeared and as if the first time 
to look for the reason. " Because she likes too many 



men." 



It kept up his spirits. "And how many may a lady 
like ?" 

" In order not to like any of them too much ? Ah 

415 



THE STORY IN IT 

that, you know, I never found out and it 's too late 
now. When," she presently pursued, "did you last see 
her?" 

He really had to think. "Would it have been since 
last November or so ? somewhere or other where 
we spent three days." 

"OhatSurredge? I know all about that. I thought 
you also met afterwards." 

He had again to recall. "So we did ! Would n't it 
have been somewhere at Christmas ? But it was n't 
by arrangement ! " he laughed, giving with his fore- 
finger a little pleasant nick to his hostess's chin. Then 
as if something in the way she received this attention 
put him back to his question of a moment before : 
"Have you kept my note?" 

She held him with her pretty eyes. " Do you want 
it back?" 

"Ah don't speak as if I did take things ! " 

She dropped her gaze to the fire. "No, you don't; 
not even the hard things a really generous nature often 
would." She quitted, however, as if to forget that, the 
chimney-place. "I put it there!" 

"You've burnt it? Good!" It made him easier, 
but he noticed the next moment on a table the lemon- 
coloured volume left there by Mrs. Blessingbourne, 
and, taking it up for a look, immediately put it down. 
"You might while you were about it have burnt that 



too." 



"You've read it?" 
"Dear yes. And you?" 

"No," said Mrs. Dyott; "it was n't for me Maud 
brought it." 

416 



THE STORY IN IT 

It pulled her visitor up. "Mrs. Blessingbourne 
brought it ? " 

"For such a day as this/' But she wondered. 
"How you look! Is it so awful ?" 

"Oh like his others." Something had occurred to 
him ; his thought was already far. " Does she know ? " 

"Know what ?" 

"Why anything." 

But the door opened too soon for Mrs. Dyott, who 
could only murmur quickly "Take care!* 



II 

IT was in fact Mrs. Blessingbourne, who had under 
her arm the book she had gone up for a pair of 
covers showing this time a pretty, a candid blue. She 
was followed next minute by the servant, who brought 
in tea, the consumption of which, with the passage of 
greetings, enquiries and other light civilities between 
the two visitors, occupied a quarter of an hour. Mrs. 
Dyott meanwhile, as a contribution to so much amen- 
ity, mentioned to Maud that her fellow guest wished 
to scold her for the books she read a statement 
met by this friend with the remark that he must first 
be sure about them. But as soon as he had picked up 
the new, the blue volume he broke out into a frank 
"Dear, dear!" 

"Have you read that too?" Mrs. Dyott enquired. 
"How much you'll have to talk over together! The 
other one," she explained to him, "Maud speaks of as 
terribly tame." 

"Ah I must have that out with her ! You don't feel 
the extraordinary force of the fellow ? " Voyt went on 
to Mrs. Blessingbourne. 

And so, round the hearth, they talked talked 
soon, while they warmed their toes, with zest enough 
to make it seem as happy a chance as any of the 
quieter opportunities their imprisonment might have 
involved. Mrs. Blessingbourne did feel, it then ap- 
peared, the force of the fellow, but she had her 

418 



THE STORY IN IT 

reserves and reactions, in which Voyt was much in- 
terested. Mrs. Dyott rather detached herself, mainly 
gazing, as she leaned back, at the fire; she intervened, 
however, enough to relieve Maud of the sense of being 
listened to. That sense, with Maud, was too apt to 
convey that one was listened to for a fool. "Yes, 
when I read a novel I mostly read a French one," 
she had said to Voyt in answer to a question about her 
usual practice; "for I seem with it to get hold more of 
the real thing to get more life for my money. Only 
I 'm not so infatuated with them but that sometimes 
for months and months on end I don't read any fiction 
at all." 

The two books were now together beside them. 
"Then when you begin again you read a mass ?" 

"Dear no. I only keep up with three or four 
authors." 

He laughed at this over the cigarette he had been 
allowed to light. " I like your ' keeping up/ and keep- 
ing up in particular with * authors. 5 " 

"One must keep up with somebody," Mrs. Dyott 
threw off. 

"I dare say I'm ridiculous," Mrs. Blessingbourne 
conceded without heeding it; "but that's the way we 
express ourselves in my part of the country." 

"I only alluded," said Voyt, "to the tremendous 
conscience of your sex. It *s more than mine can keep 
up with. You take everything too hard. But if you 
can't read the novel of British and American manu- 
facture, heaven knows I 'm at one with you. It seems 
really to show our sense of life as the sense of puppies 
and kittens." 

419 



THE STORY IN IT 

"Well," Maud more patiently returned, "I'm told 
all sorts of people are now doing wonderful things ; 
but somehow I remain outside/' 

"Ah it's they, it's our poor twangers and twad- 
dlers who remain outside. They pick up a living 
in the street. And who indeed would want them 
in?" 

Mrs. Blessingbourne seemed unable to say, and yet 
at the same time to have her idea. The subject, in 
truth, she evidently found, was not so easy to handle. 
"People lend me things, and I try; but at the end of 
fifty pages " 

"There you are ! Yes heaven help us ! " 
"But what I mean," she went on, "is n't that I 
don't get woefully weary of the eternal French thing. 
What 's their sense of life ? " 
"Ah voila!" Mrs. Dyott softly sounded. 
"Oh but it ij one; you can make it out," Voyt 
promptly declared. " They do what they feel, and they 
feel more things than we. They strike so many more 
notes, and with so different a hand. When it comes 
to any account of a relation say between a man and a 
woman I mean an intimate or a curious or a sug- 
gestive one where are we compared to them ? They 
don't exhaust the subject, no doubt," he admitted; 
"but we don't touch it, don't even skim it. It's as if 
we denied its existence, its possibility. You'll doubt- 
less tell me, however," he went on, "that as all such 
relations are for us at the most much simpler we can 
only have all round less to say about them." 

She met this imputation with the quickest amuse- 
ment. "I beg your pardon. I don't think I shall tell 

420 



THE STORY IN IT 

you anything of the sort. I don't know that I even 
agree with your premiss." 

"About such relations?" He looked agreeably 
surprised. "You think we make them larger? or 
subtler?" 

Mrs. Blessingbourne leaned back, not looking, like 
Mrs. Dyott, at the fire, but at the ceiling. "I don't 
know what I think." 

"It's not that she does n't know," Mrs. Dyott re- 
marked. "It's only that she does n't say." 

But Voyt had this time no eye for their hostess. For 
a moment he watched Maud. " It sticks out of you, 
you know, that you *ve yourself written something. 
Have n't you and published ? I 've a notion I could 
read you." 

"When I do publish," she said without moving, 
"you '11 be the last one I shall tell. I have" she went 
on, "a lovely subject, but it would take an amount of 
treatment ! " 

"Tell us then at least what it is." 

At this she again met his eyes. "Oh to tell it would 
be to express it, and that 's just what I can't do. What 
I meant to say just now," she added, "was that the 
French, to my sense, give us only again and again, 
for ever and ever, the same couple. There they are 
once more, as one has had them to satiety, in that 
yellow thing, and there I shall certainly again find 
them in the blue." 

"Then why do you keep reading about them?" 
Mrs. Dyott demanded. 

Maud cast about. "I don't!" she sighed. "At all 
events, I shan't any more. I give it up." 

421 



THE STORY IN IT 

"You've been looking for something, I judge," 
said Colonel Voyt, "that you're not likely to find. 
It does n't exist." 

"What is it?" Mrs. Dyott desired to know. 

"I never look," Maud remarked, "for anything but 



an interest." 



"Naturally. But your interest," Voyt replied, "is 
in something different from life." 

"Ah not a bit ! I love life in art, though I hate it 
anywhere else. It 's the poverty of the life those people 
show, and the awful bounders, of both sexes, that they 
represent." 

"Oh now we have you!" her interlocutor laughed. 
"To me, when all's said and done, they seem to be 
as near as art can come in the truth of the 
truth. It can only take what life gives it, though it 
certainly may be a pity that that is n't better. Your 
complaint of their monotony is a complaint of their 
conditions. When you say we get always the same 
couple what do you mean but that we get always the 
same passion? Of course we do!" Voyt pursued. 
"If what you're looking for is another, that's what 
you won't anywhere find." 

Maud for a while said nothing, and Mrs. Dyott 
seemed to wait. "Well, I suppose I 'm looking, more 
than anything else, for a decent woman." 

"Oh then you must n't look for her in pictures of 
passion. That's not her element nor her where- 
abouts." 

Mrs. Blessingbourne weighed the objection. 
"Does n't it depend on what you mean by pas- 
sion ? " 

422 



THE STORY IN IT 

"I think I can mean only one thing: the enemy to 
behaviour." 

"Oh I can imagine passions that are on the con- 
trary friends to it." 

Her fellow guest thought. "Does n't it depend 
perhaps on what you mean by behaviour ? " 

" Dear no. Behaviour 's just behaviour the most 
definite thing in the world/* 

"Then what do you mean by the 'interest * you just 
now spoke of? The picture of that definite thing ?" 

"Yes call it that. Women are n't always vicious,, 
even when they're " 

"When they're what ?" Voyt pressed. 

"When they're unhappy. They can be unhappy 
and good." 

"That one does n't for a moment deny. But can 
they be 'good' and interesting?" 

"That must be Maud's subject ! " Mrs. Dyott inter- 
posed. "To show a woman who is. I'm afraid, my 
dear," she continued, "you could only show your- 
self." 

"You'd show then the most beautiful specimen 
conceivable " and Voyt addressed himself to Maud. 
"But does n't it prove that life is, against your con- 
tention, more interesting than art ? Life you embel- 
lish and elevate; but art would find itself able to do 
nothing with you, and, on such impossible terms, 
would ruin you." 

The colour in her faint consciousness gave beauty 
to her stare. " ' Ruin ' me ? " 

"He means," Mrs. Dyott again indicated, "that 
you'd ruin 'art.'" 

4*3 



THE STORY IN IT 

"Without on the other hand" Voyt seemed to 
assent "its giving at all a coherent impression of 
you." 

"She wants her romance cheap ! " said Mrs. Dyott. 
"Oh no I should be willing to pay for it. I don't 
see why the romance since you give it that name 
should be all, as the French inveterately make it, for 
the women who are bad." 
"Oh they pay for it!" said Mrs. Dyott. 
"Do they?" 

"So at least" Mrs. Dyott a little corrected her- 
self "one has gathered (for I don't read your 
books, you know!) that they're usually shown as 
doing." 

Maud wondered, but looking at Voyt. "They're 
shown often, no doubt, as paying for their bad- 
ness. But are they shown as paying for their ro- 
mance ? " 

"My dear lady," said Voyt, "their romance is their 
badness. There is n't any other. It's a hard law, if 
you will, and a strange, but goodness has to go with- 
out that luxury. Is n't to be good just exactly, all 
round, to go without ? " He put it before her kindly 
and clearly regretfully too, as if he were sorry the 
truth should be so sad. He and she, his pleasant eyes 
seemed to say, would, had they had the making of it, 
have made it better. "One has heard it before at 
least 7 have; one has heard your question put. But 
always, when put to a mind not merely muddled, for 
an inevitable answer. * Why don't you, cber monsieur, 
give us the drama of virtue ? ' ' Because, chere madame, 
the high privilege of virtue is precisely to avoid drama.' 

424 



THE STORY IN IT 

The adventures of the honest lady ? The honest lady 
has n't, can't possibly have, adventures." 

Mrs. Blessingbourne only met his eyes at first, 
smiling with some intensity. " Does n't it depend a 
little on what you call adventures ? " 

"My poor Maud," said Mrs. Dyott as if in com- 
passion for sophistry so simple, "adventures are just 
adventures. That's all you can make of them ! " 

But her friend talked for their companion and as if 
without hearing. " Does n't it depend a good deal on 
what you call drama ? " Maud spoke as one who had 
already thought it out. " Does n't it depend on what 
you call romance ? " 

Her listener gave these arguments his very best at- 
tention. " Of course you may call things anything you 
like speak of them as one thing and mean quite 
another. But why should it depend on anything? 
Behind these words we use the adventure, the novel, 
the drama, the romance, the situation, in short, as we 
most comprehensively say behind them all stands 
the same sharp fact which they all in their different 
ways represent." 

"Precisely!" Mrs. Dyott was full of approval. 

Maud however was full of vagueness. " What great 
fact?" 

"The fact of a relation. The adventure 's a relation ; 
the relation's an adventure. The romance, the novel, 
the drama are the picture of one. The subject the 
novelist treats is the rise, the formation, the develop- 
ment, the climax and for the most part the decline of 
one. And what is the honest lady doing on that side 
of the town?" 

425 



THE STORY IN IT 

Mrs. Dyott was more pointed. "She doesn't so 
much as form a relation." 

But Maud bore up. "Does n't it depend again on 
what you call a relation ? " 

" Oh," said Mrs. Dyott, " if a gentleman picks up her 
pocket-handkerchief " 

"Ah even that's one," their friend laughed, "if she 
has thrown it to him. We can only deal with one that 



is one." 



"Surely," Maud replied. "But if it's an innocent 
one ?" 

"Doesn't it depend a good deal," Mrs. Dyott 
asked, "on what you call innocent?" 

" You mean that the adventures of innocence have 
so often been the material of fiction ? Yes," Voyt re- 
plied; "that's exactly what the bored reader com- 
plains of. He has asked for bread and been given 
a stone. What is it but, with absolute directness, a 
question of interest or, as people say, of the story ? 
What's a situation undeveloped but a subject lost? 
If a relation stops, where 's the story ? If it does n't 
stop, where 's the innocence ? It seems to me you must 
choose. It would be very pretty if it were otherwise, 
but that *s how we flounder. Art is our flounderings 
shown." 

Mrs. Blessingbourne and with an air of defer- 
ence scarce supported perhaps by its sketchiness 
kept her deep eyes on this definition. " But sometimes 
we flounder out." 

It immediately touched in Colonel Voyt the spring 
of a genial derision. "That's just where I expected 
you would! One always sees it come." 

426 



THE STORY IN IT 

"He has, you notice," Mrs. Dyott parenthesised to 
Maud, "seen it come so often; and he has always 
waited for it and met it." 

"Met it, dear lady, simply enough! It's the old 
story, Mrs. Blessingbourne. The relation 's innocent 
that the heroine gets out of. The book's innocent 
that's the story of her getting out. But what the 
devil in the name of innocence was she doing 
in?" 

Mrs. Dyott promptly echoed the question. "You 
have to be in, you know, to get out. So there you are 
already with your relation. It 's the end of your good- 



ness." 



"And the beginning," said Voyt, "of your play!" 

"Are n't they all, for that matter, even the worst," 
Mrs. Dyott pursued, " supposed some time or other to 
get out ? But if meanwhile they 've been in, however 
briefly, long enough to adorn a tale " 

"They've been in long enough to point a moral. 
That is to point ours ! " With which, and as if a sud- 
den flush of warmer light had moved him, Colonel 
Voyt got up. The veil of the storm had parted over a 
great red sunset. 

Mrs. Dyott also was on her feet, and they stood be- 
fore his charming antagonist, who, with eyes lowered 
and a somewhat fixed smile, had not moved. "We 've 
spoiled her subject!" the elder lady sighed. 

"Well," said Voyt, "it's better to spoil an artist's 
subject than to spoil his reputation. I mean," he 
explained to Maud with his indulgent manner, "his 
appearance of knowing what he has got hold of, for 
that, in the last resort, is his happiness." 

4*7 



THE STORY IN IT 

She slowly rose at this, facing him with an aspect as 
handsomely mild as his own. "You can't spoil my 
happiness/* 

He held her hand an instant as he took leave. "I 
wish I could add to it!" 



Ill 

WHEN he had quitted them and Mrs. Dyott had can- 
didly asked if her friend had found him rude or crude, 
Maud replied though not immediately that she 
had feared showing only too much how charming she 
found him. But if Mrs. Dyott took this it was to 
weigh the sense. " How could you show it too much ? " 

"Because I always feel that that's my only way of 
showing anything. It *s absurd, if you like," Mrs. 
Blessingbourne pursued, "but I never know, in such 
intense discussions, what strange impression I may 
give." 

Her companion looked amused. " Was it intense ? " 

"7 was, 5 * Maud frankly confessed. 

" Then it 's a pity you were so wrong. Colonel Voyt, 
you know, is right." Mrs. Blessingbourne at this gave 
one of the slow soft silent headshakes to which she 
often resorted and which, mostly accompanied by the 
light of cheer, had somehow, in spite of the small ob- 
stinacy that smiled in them, a special grace. With this 
grace, for a moment, her friend, looking her up and 
down, appeared impressed, yet not too much so to 
take the next minute a decision. "Oh my dear, I'm 
sorry to differ from any one so lovely for you J re 
awfully beautiful to-night, and your frock 's the very 
nicest I 've ever seen you wear. But he 's as right as he 
can be." 

Maud repeated her motion. "Not so right, at all 
events, as he thinks he is. Or perhaps I can say," she 

429 



THE STORY IN IT 

went on, after an instant, "that I 'm not so wrong. I 
do know a little what I 'm talking about." 

Mrs. Dyott continued to study her. "You are 
vexed. You naturally don't like it such destruc- 



tion/' 



"Destruction?" 

"Of your illusion." 

"I have no illusion. If I had moreover it would n't 
be destroyed. I have on the whole, I think, my little 
decency." 

Mrs. Dyott stared. "Let us grant it for argument. 
What, then?" 

"Well, I've also my little drama." 

"An attachment?" 

"An attachment." 

"That you should n't have ?" 

"That I should n't have." 

"A passion?" 

"A passion." 

"Shared?" 

"Ah thank goodness, no!" 

Mrs. Dyott continued to gaze. "The object's un- 
aware ? " 

"Utterly." 

Mrs. Dyott turned it over. "Are you sure?" 

"Sure." 

"That 's what you call your decency ? But is n't it," 
Mrs. Dyott asked, "rather his?" 

"Dear no. It's only his good fortune." 

Mrs. Dyott laughed. "But yours, darling your 
good fortune : where does that come in ? " 

"Why, in my sense of the romance of it." 
430 



THE STORY IN IT 

"The romance of what ? Of his not knowing ?" 

"Of my not wanting him to. If I did" Maud 
had touchingly worked it out "where would be 
my honesty ? " 

The enquiry, for an instant, held her friend; yet 
only, it seemed, for a stupefaction that was almost 
amusement. " Can you want or not want as you like ? 
Where in the world, if you don't want, is your ro- 
mance ? " 

Mrs. Blessingbourne still wore her smile, and she 
now, with a light gesture that matched it, just touched 
the region of her heart. "There!" 

Her companion admiringly marvelled. "A lovely 
place for it, no doubt ! but not quite a place, that 
I can see, to make the sentiment a relation." 

"Why not ? What more is required for a relation 
form*?" 

"Oh all sorts of things, I should say! And many 
more, added to those, to make it one for the person 
you mention/' 

"Ah that I don't pretend it either should be or can 
be. I only speak for myself." 

This was said in a manner that made Mrs. Dyott, 
with a visible mixture of impressions, suddenly turn 
away. She indulged in a vague movement or two, as 
if to look for something; then again found herself 
near her friend, on whom with the same abruptness, 
in fact with a strange sharpness, she conferred a kiss 
that might have represented either her tribute to 
exalted consistency or her idea of a graceful close of 
the discussion. "You deserve that one should speak 
for you ! " 

431 



THL SJLUKY IJN II 

Her companion looked cheerful and secure. "How 
can you without knowing ? " 

" Oh by guessing ! It 's not ? " 

But that was as far as Mrs. Dyott could get. " It's 
not/' said Maud, " any one you 've ever seen/' 

"Ah then I give you up!" 

And Mrs. Dyott conformed for the rest of Maud's 
stay to the spirit of this speech. It was made on a 
Saturday night, and Mrs. Blessingbourne remained 
till the Wednesday following, an interval during 
which, as the return of fine weather was confirmed by 
the Sunday, the two ladies found a wider range of 
action. There were drives to be taken, calls made, 
objects of interest seen at a distance; with the effect 
of much easy talk and still more easy silence. There 
had been a question of Colonel Voyt's probable return 
on the Sunday, but the whole time passed without a 
sign from him, and it was merely mentioned by Mrs. 
Dyott, in explanation, that he must have been sud- 
denly called, as he was so liable to be, to town. That 
this in fact was what had happened he made clear to 
her on Thursday afternoon, when, walking over again 
late, he found her alone. The consequence of his 
Sunday letters had been his taking, that day, the 4.15. 
Mrs. Voyt had gone back on Thursday, and he now, 
to settle on the spot the question of a piece of work 
begun at his place, had rushed down for a few hours in 
anticipation of the usual collective move for the 
week's end. He was to go up again by the late train, 
and had to count a little a fact accepted by his 
hostess with the hard pliancy of practice his present 
happy moments. Too few as these were, however, he 

432 



THE STORY IN IT 

found time to make of her an enquiry or two not di- 
rectly bearing on their situation. The first was a recall 
of the question for which Mrs. Blessingbourne's en- 
trance on the previous Saturday had arrested her 
answer. Had that lady the idea of anything between 
them ? 

"No. I'm sure. There's one idea she has got," 
Mrs. Dyott went on ; " but it 's quite different and not 
so very wonderful." 

"What then is it?" 

"Well, that she's herself in love/' 

Voyt showed his interest. "You mean she told 
you?" 

"I got it out of her." 

He showed his amusement. " Poor thing ! And with 
whom ? " 

"With you." 

His surprise, if the distinction might be made, was 
less than his wonder. "You got that out of her too ? " 

"No it remains in. Which is much the best way 
for it. For you to know it would be to end it." 

He looked rather cheerfully at sea. "Is that then 
why you tell me ? " 

" I mean for her to know you know it. Therefore 
it 's in your interest not to let her." 

" I see," Voyt after a moment returned. "Your real 
calculation is that my interest will be sacrificed to my 
vanity so that, if your other idea is just, the flame 
will in fact, and thanks to her morbid conscience, 
expire by her taking fright at seeing me so pleased. 
But I promise you," he declared, "that she shan't 
see it. So there you are ! " She kept her eyes on him 

433 



THE STORY IN IT 

and had evidently to admit after a little that there she 
was. Distinct as he had made the case, however, he 
wasn't yet quite satisfied. "Why are you so sure 
I'm the man?" 

"From the way she denies you." 
"You put it to her?" 

"Straight. If you hadn't been she'd of course 
have confessed to you to keep me in the dark about 
the real one." 

Poor Voyt laughed out again. "Oh you dear souls ! " 
"Besides," his companion pursued, "I wasn't in 
want of that evidence." 

"Then what other had you ?" 
"Her state before you came which was what 
made me ask you how much you had seen her. And 
her state after it," Mrs. Dyott added. "And her 
state," she wound up, "while you were here." 
"But her state while I was here was charming." 
"Charming. That's just what I say." 
She said it in a tone that placed the matter in its 
right light a light in which they appeared kindly, 
quite tenderly, to watch Maud wander away into 
space with her lovely head bent under a theory rather 
too big for it. Voyt's last word, however, was that 
there was just enough in it in the theory for them 
to allow that she had not shown herself, on the occa- 
sion of their talk, wholly bereft of sense. Her con- 
sciousness, if they let it alone as they of course after 
this mercifully must was, in the last analysis, a 
kind of shy romance. Not a romance like their own, 
a thing to make the fortune of any author up to the 
mark one who should have the invention or who 

434 



THE STORY IN IT 

could have the courage; but a small scared starved 
subjective satisfaction that would do her no harm and 
nobody else any good. Who but a duffer he stuck to 
his contention would see the shadow of a "story" 
in it ? 



FLICKERBRIDGE 



FLICKERBRIDGE 



FRANK GRANGER had arrived from Paris to paint a 
portrait an order given him, as a young compatriot 
with a future, whose early work would some day have 
a price, by a lady from New York, a friend of his own 
people *and also, as it happened, of Addie's, the young 
woman to whom it was publicly both affirmed and 
denied that he was engaged. Other young women in 
Paris fellow members there of the little tight trans- 
pontine world of art-study professed to know that 
the pair had "several times " over renewed their fond 
understanding. This, however, was their own affair; 
the last phase of the relation, the last time of the times, 
had passed into vagueness; there was perhaps even 
an impression that if they were inscrutable to their 
friends they were not wholly crystalline to each other 
and themselves. What had occurred for Granger at 
all events in connexion with the portrait was that Mrs. 
Bracken, his intending model, whose return to Amer- 
ica was at hand, had suddenly been called to London 
by her husband, occupied there with pressing busi- 
ness, but had yet desired that her displacement should 
not interrupt her sittings. The young man, at her 
request, had followed her to England and profited by 
all she could give him, making shift with a small studio 
lent him by a London painter whom he had known 

439 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

and liked a few years before in the French atelier that 
then cradled, and that continued to cradle, so many of 
their kind. 

The British capital was a strange grey world to him, 
where people walked, in more ways than one, by a dim 
light; but he was happily of such a turn that the im- 
pression, just as it came, could nowhere ever fail him, 
and even the worst of these things was almost as much 
an occupation putting it only at that as the best. 
Mrs. Bracken moreover passed him on, and while the 
darkness ebbed a little in the April days he found him- 
self consolingly committed to a couple of fresh sub- 
jects. This cut him out work for more than another 
month, but meanwhile, as he said, he saw a lot a lot 
that, with frequency and with much expression, he 
wrote about to Addie. She also wrote to her absent 
friend, but in briefer snatches, a meagreness to her 
reasons for which he had long since assented. She had 
other play for her pen as well as, fortunately, other 
remuneration; a regular correspondence for a "pro- 
minent Boston paper/' fitful connexions with public 
sheets perhaps also in cases fitful, and a mind above 
all engrossed at times, to the exclusion of everything 
else, with the study of the short story. This last was 
what she had mainly come out to go into, two or three 
years after he had found himself engulfed in the mys- 
tery of Carolus. She was indeed, on her own deep sea, 
more engulfed than he had ever been, and he had 
grown to accept the sense that, for progress too, she 
sailed under more canvas. It had n't been particu- 
larly present to him till now that he had in the least 
got on, but the way in which Addie had and evid- 

440 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

ently still more would was the theme, as it were, 
of every tongue. She had thirty short stories out and 
nine descriptive articles. His three or four portraits 
of fat American ladies they were all fat, all ladies 
and all American were a poor show compared with 
these triumphs; especially as Addie had begun to 
throw out that it was about time they should go home. 
It kept perpetually coming up in Paris, in the trans- 
pontine world, that, as the phrase was, America had 
grown more interesting since they left. Addie was 
attentive to the rumour, and, as full of conscience as 
she was of taste, of patriotism as of curiosity, had often 
put it to him frankly, with what he, who was of New 
York, recognised as her New England emphasis : " I 'm 
not sure, you know, that we do real justice to our coun- 
try." Granger felt he would do it on the day if the 
day ever came he should irrevocably marry her. 
No other country could possibly have produced her. 



II 

Bur meanwhile it befell that, in London, he was 
stricken with influenza and with subsequent sorrow. 
The attack was short but sharp had it lasted Addie 
would certainly have come to his aid; most of a blight 
really in its secondary stage. The good ladies his sit- 
ters the ladies with the frizzled hair, with the dia- 
mond earrings, with the chins tending to the massive 
left for him, at the door of his lodgings, flowers, 
soup and love, so that with their assistance he pulled 
through; but his convalescence was slow and his weak- 
ness out of proportion to the muffled shock. He came 
out, but he went about lame; it tired him to paint 
he felt as if he had been ill three months. He strolled in 
Kensington Gardens when he should have been at 
work; he sat long on penny chairs and helplessly 
mused and mooned. Addie desired him to return to 
Paris, but there were chances under his hand that he 
felt he had just wit enough left not to relinquish. He 
would have gone for a week to the sea he would 
have gone to Brighton; but Mrs. Bracken had to be 
finished Mrs. Bracken was so soon to sail. He just 
managed to finish her in time the day before the 
date fixed for his breaking ground on a greater busi- 
ness still, the circumvallation of Mrs. Dunn. Mrs. 
Dunn duly waited on him, and he sat down before her, 
feeling, however, ere he rose, that he must take a long 
breath before the attack. While asking himself that 

442 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

night, therefore, where he should best replenish his 
lungs he received from Addie, who had had from Mrs. 
Bracken a poor report of him, a communication 
which, besides being of sudden and startling interest, 
applied directly to his case. 

His friend wrote to him under the lively emotion of 
having from one day to another become aware of a 
new relative, an ancient cousin, a sequestered gentle- 
woman, the sole survival of "the English branch of 
the family," still resident, at Flickerbridge, in the "old 
family home," and with whom, that he might imme- 
diately betake himself to so auspicious a quarter for 
change of air, she had already done what was proper 
to place him, as she said, in touch. What came of it 
all, to be brief, was that Granger found himself so 
placed almost as he read : he was in touch with Miss 
Wenham of Flickerbridge, to the extent of being in 
correspondence with her, before twenty-four hours 
had sped. And on the second day he was in the train, 
settled for a five-hours' run to the door of this amiable 
woman who had so abruptly and kindly taken him on 
trust and of whom but yesterday he had never so much 
as heard. This was an oddity the whole incident 
was of which, in the corner of his compartment, as 
he proceeded, he had time to take the size. But the 
surprise, the incongruity, as he felt, could but deepen 
as he went. It was a sufficiently queer note, in the 
light, or the absence of it, of his late experience, that so 
complex a product as Addie should have any simple 
insular tie; but it was a queerer note still that she 
should have had one so long only to remain unprofit- 
ably unconscious of it. Not to have done something 

443 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

with it, used it, worked it, talked about it at least, and 
perhaps even written these things, at the rate she 
moved, represented a loss of opportunity under 
which, as he saw her, she was peculiarly formed to 
wince. She was at any rate, it was clear, doing some- 
thing with it now; using it, working it, certainly, al- 
ready talking and, yes, quite possibly writing 
about it. She was in short smartly making up what she 
had missed, and he could take such comfort from his 
own action as he had been helped to by the rest of the 
facts, succinctly reported from Paris on the very morn- 
ing of his start. 

It was the singular story of a sharp split in a good 
English house that dated now from years back. A 
worthy Briton, of the best middling stock, had, during 
the fourth decade of the century, as a very young man, 
in Dresden, whither he had been dispatched to qual- 
ify in German for a stool in an uncle's counting-house, 
met, admired, wooed and won an American girl, of 
due attractions, domiciled at that period with her par- 
ents and a sister, who was also attractive, in the Saxon 
capital. He had married her, taken her to England, 
and there, after some years of harmony and happiness, 
lost her. The sister in question had, after her death, 
come to him and to his young child on a visit, the 
effect of which, between the pair, eventually defined 
itself as a sentiment that was not to be resisted. The 
bereaved husband, yielding to a new attachment and 
a new response, and finding a new union thus pre- 
scribed, had yet been forced to reckon with the un- 
accommodating law of the land. Encompassed with 
frowns in his own country however, marriages of this 

444 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

particular type were wreathed in smiles in his sister's- 
in-law, so that his remedy was not forbidden. Choos- 
ing between two allegiances he had let the one go that 
seemed the least close, and had in brief transplanted 
his possibilities to an easier air. The knot was tied for 
the couple in New York, where, to protect the legit- 
imacy of such other children as might come to them, 
they settled and prospered. Children came, and one 
of the daughters, growing up and marrying in her 
turn, was, if Frank rightly followed, the mother of his 
own Addie, who had been deprived of the knowledge 
of her indeed, in childhood, by death, and been 
brought up, though without undue tension, by a step- 
mother a character breaking out thus anew. 

The breach produced in England by the invidious 
action, as it was there held, of the girl's grandfather, 
had not failed to widen all the more that nothing 
had been done on the American side to close it. Frig- 
idity had settled, and hostility had been arrested only 
by indifference. Darkness therefore had fortunately 
supervened, and a cousinship completely divided. On 
either side of the impassable gulf, of the impenetrable 
curtain, each branch had put forth its leaves a 
foliage failing, in the American quarter, it was dis- 
tinct enough to Granger, of no sign or symptom of 
climate and environment. The graft in New York 
had taken, and Addie was a vivid, an unmistakeable 
flower. At Flickerbridge, or wherever, on the other 
hand, strange to say, the parent stem had had a for- 
tune comparatively meagre. Fortune, it was true, in 
the vulgarest sense, had attended neither party. 
Addie's immediate belongings were as poor as they 

445 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

were numerous, and he gathered that Miss Wenham's 
pretensions to wealth were not so marked as to expose 
the claim of kinship to the imputation of motive. To 
this lady's single identity the original stock had at all 
events dwindled, and our young man was properly 
warned that he would find her shy and solitary. What 
was singular was that in these conditions she should 
desire, she should endure, to receive him. But that 
was all another story, lucid enough when mastered. 
He kept Addie's letters, exceptionally copious, in his 
lap; he conned them at intervals; he held the threads. 
He looked out between whiles at the pleasant Eng- 
lish land, an April aquarelle washed in with wondrous 
breadth. He knew the French thing, he knew the 
American, but he had known nothing of this. He saw 
it already as the remarkable Miss Wenham's setting. 
The doctor's daughter at Flickerbridge, with nippers 
on her nose, a palette on her thumb and innocence in 
her heart, had been the miraculous link. She had be- 
come aware even there, in our world of wonders, that 
the current fashion for young women so equipped was 
to enter the Parisian lists. Addie had accordingly 
chanced upon her, on the slopes of Montparnasse, as 
one of the English girls in one of the thorough-going 
sets. They had met in some easy collocation and had 
fallen upon common ground; after which the young 
woman, restored to Flickerbridge for an interlude and 
retailing there her adventures and impressions, had 
mentioned to Miss Wenham, who had known and pro- 
tected her from babyhood, that that lady's own name 
of Adelaide was, as well as the surname conjoined 
with it, borne, to her knowledge, in Paris, by an extra- 

446 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

ordinary American specimen. She had then recrossed 
the Channel with a wonderful message, a courteous 
challenge, to her friend's duplicate, who had in turn 
granted through her every satisfaction. The duplicate 
had in other words bravely let Miss Wenham know 
exactly who she was. Miss Wenham, in whose per- 
sonal tradition the flame of resentment appeared to 
have been reduced by time to the palest ashes for 
whom indeed the story of the great schism was now but 
a legend only needing a little less dimness to make it 
romantic Miss Wenham had promptly responded 
by a letter fragrant with the hope that old threads 
might be taken up. It was a relationship that they 
must puzzle out together, and she had earnestly 
sounded the other party to it on the subject of a pos- 
sible visit. Addie had met her with a definite promise; 
she would come soon, she would come when free, she 
would come in July; but meanwhile she sent her 
deputy. Frank asked himself by what name she had 
described, by what character introduced him to 
Flickerbridge. He mainly felt on the whole as if he 
were going there to find out if he were engaged to her. 
He was at sea really now as to which of the various 
views Addie herself took of it. To Miss Wenham she 
must definitely have taken one, and perhaps Miss 
Wenham would reveal it. This expectation was in fact 
his excuse for a possible indiscretion. 



Ill 

HE was indeed to learn on arrival to what he had been 
committed ; but that was for a while so much a part of 
his first general impression that the particular truth 
took time to detach itself, the first general impression 
demanding verily all his faculties of response. He 
almost felt for a day or two the victim of a practical 
joke, a gross abuse of confidence. He had presented 
himself with the moderate amount of flutter involved 
in a sense of due preparation ; but he had then found 
that, however primed with prefaces and prompted 
with hints, he had n't been prepared at all. How could 
he be, he asked himself, for anything so foreign to his 
experience, so alien to his proper world, so little to be 
preconceived in the sharp north light of the newest 
impressionism, and yet so recognised after all in the 
event, so noted and tasted and assimilated ? It was 
a case he would scarce have known how to describe 
could doubtless have described best with a full clean 
brush, supplemented by a play of gesture; for it was 
always his habit to see an occasion, of whatever kind, 
primarily as a picture, so that he might get it, as he 
was wont to say, so that he might keep it, well to- 
gether. He had been treated of a sudden, in this ad- 
venture, to one of the sweetest fairest coolest impres- 
sions of his life one moreover visibly complete and 
homogeneous from the start. Oh it was there, if that 
was all one wanted of a thing ! It was so "there " that, 

448 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

as had befallen him in Italy, in Spain, confronted at 
last, in dusky side-chapel or rich museum, with great 
things dreamed of or with greater ones unexpectedly 
presented, he had held his breath for fear of breaking 
the spell; had almost, from the quick impulse to 
respect, to prolong, lowered his voice and moved on 
tiptoe. Supreme beauty suddenly revealed is apt to 
strike us as a possible illusion playing with our desire 
instant freedom with it to strike us as a possible 
rashness. 

This fortunately, however and the more so as his 
freedom for the time quite left him did n't prevent 
his hostess, the evening of his advent and while the vi- 
sion was new, from being exactly as queer and rare and 
impayabhy as improbable, as impossible, as delightful 
at the eight o'clock dinner she appeared to keep 
these immense hours as she had overwhelmingly 
been at the five o'clock tea. Shewas in the most nat- 
ural way in the world one of the oddest apparitions, 
but that the particular means to such an end could be 
natural was an inference difficult to make. He failed 
in fact to make it for a couple of days; but then 
though then only he made it with confidence. By 
this time indeed he was sure of everything, luckily in- 
cluding himself. If we compare his impression, with 
slight extravagance, to some of the greatest he had 
ever received, this is simply because the image before 
him was so rounded and stamped. It expressed with 
pure perfection, it exhausted its character. It was so 
absolutely and so unconsciously what it was. He had 
been floated by the strangest of chances out of the 
rushing stream into a clear still backwater a deep 

449 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

and quiet pool in which objects were sharply mir- 
rored. He had hitherto in life known nothing that was 
old except a few statues and pictures; but here every- 
thing was old, was immemorial, and nothing so much 
so as the very freshness itself. Vaguely to have sup- 
posed there were such nooks in the world had done 
little enough, he now saw, to temper the glare of their 
opposites. It was the fine touches that counted, and 
these had to be seen to be believed. 

Miss Wenham, fifty-five years of age and unappeas- 
ably timid, unaccountably strange, had, on her re- 
duced scale, an almost Gothic grotesqueness; but the 
final effect of one's sense of it was an amenity that 
accompanied one's steps like wafted gratitude. More 
flurried, more spasmodic, more apologetic, more com- 
pletely at a loss at one moment and more precipitately 
abounding at another, he had never before in all his 
days seen any maiden lady; yet for no maiden lady he 
had ever seen had he so promptly conceived a private 
enthusiasm. Her eyes protruded, her chin receded and 
her nose carried on in conversation a queer little inde- 
pendent motion. She wore on the top of her head an 
upright circular cap that made her resemble a caryatid 
disburdened, and on other parts of her person strange 
combinations of colours, stuffs, shapes, of metal, min- 
eral and plant. The tones of her voice rose and fell, 
her facial convulsions, whether tending one could 
scarce make out to expression or repression, suc- 
ceeded each other by a law of their own; she was em- 
barrassed at nothing and at everything, frightened at 
everything and at nothing, and she approached ob- 
jects, subjects, the simplest questions and answers and 

450 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

the whole material of intercourse, either with the in- 
directness of terror or with the violence of despair. 
These things, none the less, her refinements of oddity 
and intensities of custom, her betrayal at once of 
conventions and simplicities, of ease and of agony, her 
roundabout retarded suggestions and perceptions, 
still permitted her to strike her guest as irresistibly 
charming. He did n't know what to call it; she was a 
fruit of time. She had a queer distinction. She had 
been expensively produced and there would be a good 
deal more of her to come. 

The result of the whole quality of her welcome, at 
any rate, was that the first evening, in his room, before 
going to bed, he relieved his mind in a letter to Addie, 
which, if space allowed us to embody it in our text, 
would usefully perform the office of a "plate." It 
would enable us to present ourselves as profusely illus- 
trated. But the process of reproduction, as we say, 
costs. He wished his friend to know how grandly their 
affair turned out. She had put him in the way of some- 
thing absolutely special an old house untouched, 
untouchable, indescribable, an old corner such as one 
did n't believe existed, and the holy calm of which 
made the chatter of studios, the smell of paint, the 
slang of critics, the whole sense and sound of Paris, 
come back as so many signs of a huge monkey-cage. 
He moved about, restless, while he wrote; he lighted 
cigarettes and, nervous and suddenly scrupulous, put 
them out again; the night was mild and one of the win- 
dows of his large high room, which stood over the gar- 
den, was up. He lost himself in the things about him, 
in the type of the room, the last century with not a 

451 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

chair moved, not a point stretched. He hung over the 
objects and ornaments, blissfully few and adorably 
good, perfect pieces all, and never one, for a change, 
French. The scene was as rare as some fine old print 
with the best bits down in the corners. Old books and 
old pictures, allusions remembered and aspects con- 
jectured, reappeared to him; he knew now what anx- 
ious islanders had been trying for in their backward 
hunt for the homely. But the homely at Flickerbridge 
was all style, even as style at the same time was mere 
honesty. The larger, the smaller past he scarce 
knew which to call it was at all events so hushed to 
sleep round him as he wrote that he had almost a bad 
conscience about having come. How one might love it, 
but how one might spoil it ! To look at it too hard was 
positively to make it conscious, and to make it con- 
scious was positively to wake it up. Its only safety, of 
a truth, was to be left still to sleep to sleep in its 
large fair chambers and under its high clean canopies. 
He added thus restlessly a line to his letter, maun- 
dered round the room again, noted and fingered some- 
thing else, and then, dropping on the old flowered sofa, 
sustained by the tight cubes of its cushions, yielded 
afresh to the cigarette, hesitated, stared, wrote a few 
words more. He wanted Addie to know, that was 
what he most felt, unless he perhaps felt more how 
much she herself would want to. Yes, what he su- 
premely saw was all that Addie would make of it. Up 
to his neck in it there he fairly turned cold at the sense 
of suppressed opportunity, of the outrage of privation 
that his correspondent would retrospectively and, as 
he even divined with a vague shudder, almost vin- 

45* 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

dictively nurse. Well, what had happened was that 
the acquaintance had been kept for her, like a packet 
enveloped and sealed for delivery, till her attention 
was free. He saw her there, heard her and felt her 
felt how she would feel and how she would, as she 
usually said, "rave." Some of her young compatriots 
called it "yell," and in the reference itself, alas ! illus- 
trated their meaning. She would understand the place 
at any rate, down to the ground ; there was n't the 
slightest doubt of that. Her sense of it would be exactly 
like his own, and he could see, in anticipation, just the 
terms of recognition and rapture in which she would 
abound. He knew just what she would call quaint, 
just what she would call bland, just what she would 
call weird, just what she would call wild. She would 
take it all in with an intelligence much more fitted than 
his own, in fact, to deal with what he supposed he must 
regard as its literary relations. She would have read 
the long-winded obsolete memoirs and novels that 
both the figures and the setting ought clearly to remind 
one of; she would know about the past generations 
the lumbering country magnates and their turbaned 
wives and round-eyed daughters, who, in other days, 
had treated the ruddy sturdy tradeless town, the 
solid square houses and wide walled gardens, the 
streets to-day all grass and gossip, as the scene of a 
local "season." She would have warrant for the as- 
semblies, dinners, deep potations; for the smoked 
sconces in the dusky parlours; for the long muddy 
century of family coaches, "holsters," highwaymen. 
She would put a finger in short, just as he had done, 
on the vital spot the rich humility of the whole 

453 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

thing, the fact that neither Flickerbridge in general 
nor Miss Wenham in particular, nor anything nor 
any one concerned, had a suspicion of their character 
and their merit. Addie and he would have to come to 
let in light. 

He let it in then, little by little, before going to bed, 
through the eight or ten pages he addressed to her; 
assured her that it was the happiest case in the world, 
a little picture yet full of "style " too absolutely 
composed and transmitted, with tradition, and tradi- 
tion only, in every stroke, tradition still noiselessly 
breathing and visibly flushing, marking strange hours 
in the tall mahogany clocks that were never wound up 
and that yet audibly ticked on. All the elements, he 
was sure he should see, would hang together with a 
charm, presenting his hostess a strange iridescent 
fish for the glazed exposure of an aquarium as 
afloat in her native medium. He left his letter open on 
the table, but, looking it over next morning, felt of a 
sudden indisposed to send it. He would keep it to add 
more, for there would be more to know; yet when three 
days had elapsed he still had not sent it. He sent 
instead, after delay, a much briefer report, which he 
was moved to make different and, for some reason, 
less vivid. Meanwhile he learned from Miss Wenham 
how Addie had introduced him. It took time to arrive 
with her at that point, but after the Rubicon was 
crossed they went far afield. 



IV 

"OH yes, she said you were engaged to her. That was 
why since I bad broken out so she thought I 
might like to see you ; as I assure you I 've been so de- 
lighted to. But are n't you ? " the good lady asked as 
if she saw in his face some ground for doubt. 

"Assuredly if she says so. It may seem very odd 
to you, but I have n't known, and yet I 've felt that, 
being nothing whatever to you directly, I need some 
warrant for consenting thus to be thrust on you. We 
were" the young man explained, "engaged a year 
ago; but since then (if you don't mind my telling you 
such things; I feel now as if I could tell you anything!) 
I have n't quite known how I stand. It has n't seemed 
we were in a position to marry. Things are better now, 
but I have n't quite known how she *d see them. They 
were so bad six months ago that I understood her, I 
thought, as breaking off. I have n't broken ; I Ve only 
accepted, for the time because men must be easy 
with women being treated as 'the best of friends/ 
Well, I try to be. I would n't have come here if I 
had n't been. I thought it would be charming for her 
to know you when I heard from her the extraordin- 
ary way you had dawned upon her; and charming 
therefore if I could help her to it. And if I 'm helping 
you to know her," he went on, "is n't that charming 
too?" 

"Oh I so want to!" Miss Wenham murmured in 
455 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

her unpractical impersonal way. "You're so differ- 
ent!" she wistfully declared. 

"It 's you, if I may respectfully, ecstatically say so, 
who are different. That's the point of it all. I 'm not 
sure that anything so terrible really ought to happen 
to you as to know us." 

"Well," said Miss Wenham, "I do know you a little 
by this time, don't I ? And I don't find it terrible. It 's 
a delightful change for me." 

"Oh I'm not sure you ought to have a delightful 
change!" 

"Why not if you do?" 

"Ah I can bear it. I 'm not sure you can. I 'm too 
bad to spoil I am spoiled. I'm nobody, in short; 
I'm nothing. I've no type. You're all type. It has 
taken delicious long years of security and monotony to 
produce you. You fit your frame with a perfection 
only equalled by the perfection with which your frame 
fits you. So this admirable old house, all time-softened 
white within and time-faded red without, so every- 
thing that surrounds you here and that has, by some 
extraordinary mercy, escaped the inevitable fate of 
exploitation: so it all, I say, is the sort of thing that, 
were it the least bit to fall to pieces, could never, ah 
never more be put together again. I have, dear Miss 
Wenham," Granger went on, happy himself in his 
extravagance, which was yet all sincere, and happier 
still in her deep but altogether pleased mystification 
" I 've found, do you know, just the thing one has ever 
heard of that you most resemble. You 're the Sleeping 
Beauty in the Wood." 

He still had no compunction when he heard her 
456 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

bewilderedly sigh: "Oh you're too delightfully 
droll!" 

"No, I only put things just as they are, and as I *ve 
also learned a little, thank heaven, to see them 
which is n't, I quite agree with you, at all what any 
one does. You 're in the deep doze of the spell that has 
held you for long years, and it would be a shame, a 
crime, to wake you up. Indeed I already feel with a 
thousand scruples that I *m giving you the fatal shake. 
I say it even though it makes me sound a little as if I 
thought myself the fairy prince." 

She gazed at him with her queerest kindest look, 
which he was getting used to in spite of a faint fear, at 
the back of his head, of the strange things that some- 
times occurred when lonely ladies, however mature, 
began to look at interesting young men from over the 
seas as if the young men desired to flirt. "It's so 
wonderful," she said, "that you should be so very odd 
and yet so very good-natured." Well, it all came to the 
same thing it was so wonderful that she should be 
so simple and yet so little of a bore. He accepted with 
gratitude the theory of his languor which moreover 
was real enough and partly perhaps why he was so 
sensitive; he let himself go as a convalescent, let her 
insist on the weakness always left by fever. It helped 
him to gain time, to preserve the spell even while he 
talked of breaking it; saw him through slow strolls 
and soft sessions, long gossips, fitful hopeless questions 
there was so much more to tell than, by any con- 
tortion, she could and explanations addressed gal- 
lantly and patiently to her understanding, but not, by 
good fortune, really reaching it. They were perfectly 

457 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

at cross-purposes, and it was all the better, and they 
wandered together in the silver haze with all commun- 
ication blurred. 

When they sat in the sun in her formal garden he 
quite knew how little even the tenderest consideration 
failed to disguise his treating her as the most exquisite 
of curiosities. The term of comparison most present 
to him was that of some obsolete musical instrument. 
The old-time order of her mind and her air had the 
stillness of a painted spinnet that was duly dusted, 
gently rubbed, but never tuned nor played on. Her 
opinions were like dried roseleaves ; her attitudes like 
British sculpture; her voice what he imagined of the 
possible tone of the old gilded silver-stringed harp in 
one of the corners of the drawing-room. The lonely 
little decencies and modest dignities of her life, the 
fine grain of its conservatism, the innocence of its 
ignorance, all its monotony of stupidity and salubrity, 
its cold dulness and dim brightness, were there before 
him. Meanwhile within him strange things took 
place. It was literally true that his impression began 
again, after a lull, to make him nervous and anxious, 
and for reasons peculiarly confused, almost grotesquely 
mingled, or at least comically sharp. He was distinctly 
an agitation and a new taste that he could see; and 
he saw quite as much therefore the excitement she 
already drew from the vision of Addie, an image in- 
tensified by the sense of closer kinship and presented 
to her, clearly, with various erratic enhancements, by 
her friend the doctor's daughter. At the end of a few 
days he said to her : "Do you know she wants to come 
without waiting any longer ? She wants to come while 

458 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

I 'm here. I received this morning her letter proposing 
it, but I Ve been thinking it over and have waited to 
speak to you. The thing is, you see, that if she writes 
to you proposing it " 

"Oh I shall be so particularly glad!" 



THEY were as usual in the garden, and it had n't yet 
been so present to him that if he were only a happy cad 
there would be a good way to protect her. As she 
would n't hear of his being yet beyond precautions she 
had gone into the house for a particular shawl that 
was just the thing for his knees, and, blinking in the 
watery sunshine, had come back with it across the fine 
little lawn. He was neither fatuous nor asinine, but he 
had almost to put it to himself as a small task to resist 
the sense of his absurd advantage with her. It filled 
him with horror and awkwardness, made him think of 
he did n't know what, recalled something of Maupas- 
sant's the smitten "Miss Harriet " and her tragic 
fate. There was a preposterous possibility yes, he 
held the strings quite in his hands of keeping the 
treasure for himself. That was the art of life what 
the real artist would consistently do. He would close 
the door on his impression, treat it as a private mu- 
seum. He would see that he could lounge and linger 
there, live with wonderful things there, lie up there to 
rest and refit. For himself he was sure that after a lit- 
tle he should be able to paint there do things in a 
key he had never thought of before. When she 
brought him the rug he took it from her and made her 
sit down on the bench and resume her knitting; then, 
passing behind her with a laugh, he placed it over her 
own shoulders; after which he moved to and fro 

460 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

before her, his hands in his pockets and his cigarette 
in his teeth. He was ashamed of the cigarette a vil- 
lainous false note; but she allowed, liked, begged him 
to smoke, and what he said to her on it, in one of the 
pleasantries she benevolently missed, was that he did 
so for fear of doing worse. That only showed how the 
end was really in sight. " I dare say it will strike you 
as quite awful, what I 'm going to say to you, but I 
can't help it. I speak out of the depths of my respect 
for you. It will seem to you horrid disloyalty to poor 
Addie. Yes there we are; there 7 am at least in my 
naked monstrosity." He stopped and looked at her 
till she might have been almost frightened. "Don't 
let her come. Tell her not to. I 've tried to prevent it, 
but she suspects." 

The poor woman wondered. "Suspects ?" 
"Well, I drew it, in writing to her, on reflexion, as 
mild as I could having been visited in the watches 
of the night by the instinct of what might happen. 
Something told me to keep back my first letter in 
which, under the first impression, I myself rashly 
* raved '; and I concocted instead of it an insincere and 
guarded report. But guarded as I was I clearly did n't 
keep you Mown/ as we say, enough. The wonder of 
your colour daub you over with grey as I might 
must have come through and told the tale. She scents 
battle from afar by which I mean she scents 'quaint- 
ness/ But keep her off. It 9 s hideous, what I 'm say- 
ing but I owe it to you. I owe it to the world. She'll 
kill you." 

"You mean I shan't get on with her?" 
"Oh fatally! See how / have. And see how you 
461 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

have with me. She 's intelligent moreover, remarkably 
pretty, remarkably good. And she'll adore you." 

"Well then?" 

"Why that will be just how she'll do for you." 

"Oh I can hold my own ! " said Miss Wenham with 
the headshake of a horse making his sleigh-bells rattle 
in frosty air. 

"Ah but you can't hold hers! She'll rave about 
you. She'll write about you. You're Niagara before 
the first white traveller and you know, or rather 
you can't know, what Niagara became after that gen- 
tleman. Addie will have discovered Niagara. She '11 
understand you in perfection; she'll feel you down to 
the ground; not a delicate shade of you will she lose or 
let any one else lose. You '11 be too weird for words, 
but the words will nevertheless come. You '11 be too 
exactly the real thing and to be left too utterly just as 
you are, and all Addie's friends and all Addie's 
editors and contributors and readers will cross the 
Atlantic and flock to Flickerbridge just in order so 
unanimously, universally, vociferously to leave you. 
You '11 be in the magazines with illustrations ; you '11 
be in the papers with headings ; you '11 be everywhere 
with everything. You don't understand you think 
you do, but you don't. Heaven forbid you should un- 
derstand ! That 's just your beauty your * sleeping * 
beauty. But you need n't. You can take me on trust. 
Don't have her. Give as a pretext, as a reason any- 
thing in the world you like. Lie to her scare her 
away. I '11 go away and give you up I '11 sacrifice 
everything myself." Granger pursued his exhortation, 
convincing himself more and more. " If I saw my way 

462 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

out, my way completely through, / V pile up some 
fabric of fiction for her I should only want to be 
sure of its not tumbling down. One would have, you 
see, to keep the thing up. But I 'd throw dust in her 
eyes. I 'd tell her you don't do at all that you *re not 
in fact a desirable acquaintance. I 'd tell her you *re 
vulgar, improper, scandalous; I'd tell her you're 
mercenary, designing, dangerous; I'd tell her the 
only safe course is immediately to let you drop. I 'd 
thus surround you with an impenetrable legend of 
conscientious misrepresentation, a circle of pious 
fraud, and all the while privately keep you for my- 
self." 

She had listened to him as if he were a band of 
music and she herself a small shy garden-party. "I 
should n't like you to go away. I should n't in the 
least like you not to come again." 

"Ah there it is!" he replied. "How can I come 
again if Addie ruins you ? " 

"But how will she ruin me even if she does what 
you say ? I know I *m too old to change and really 
much too queer to please in any of the extraordinary 
ways you speak of. If it *s a question of quizzing me I 
don't think my cousin, or any one else, will have quite 
the hand for it that you seem to have. So that if you 
have n't ruined me ! " 

" But I have that 's just the point !" Granger in- 
sisted. " I *ve undermined you at least. I Ve left after 
all terribly little for Addie to do." 

She laughed in clear tones. "Well then, we'll ad- 
mit that you 've done everything but frighten me." 

He looked at her with surpassing gloom. "No 
463 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

that again is one of the most dreadful features. You '11 
positively like it what 's to come. You '11 be caught 
up in a chariot of fire like the prophet was n't there, 
was there one ? of old. That 's exactly why if 
one could but have done it you 'd have been to be 
kept ignorant and helpless. There's something or 
other in Latin that says it's the finest things that 
change the most easily for the worse. You already 
enjoy your dishonour and revel in your shame. It 's 
too late you 're lost ! " 



VI 



ALL this was as pleasant a manner of passing the time 
as any other, for it did n't prevent his old-world corner 
from closing round him more entirely, nor stand in the 
way of his making out from day to day some new 
source as well as some new effect of its virtue. He was 
really scared at moments at some of the liberties he 
took in talk at finding himself so familiar; for the 
great note of the place was just that a certain modern 
ease had never crossed its threshold, that quick inti- 
macies and quick oblivions were a stranger to its air. 
It had known in all its days no rude, no loud invasion. 
Serenely unconscious of most contemporary things, it 
had been so of nothing so much as of the diffused so- 
cial practice of running in and out. Granger held his 
breath on occasions to think how Addie would run. 
There were moments when, more than at others, for 
some reason, he heard her step on the staircase and 
her cry in the* hall. If he nevertheless played freely 
with the idea with which we have shown him as oc- 
cupied it was n't that in all palpable ways he did n't 
sacrifice so far as mortally possible to stillness. He 
only hovered, ever so lightly, to take up again his 
thread. She would n't hear of his leaving her, of his 
being in the least fit again, as she said, to travel. She 
spoke of the journey to London which was in fact 
a matter of many hours as an experiment fraught 
with lurking complications. He added then day to 
day, yet only hereby, as he reminded her, giving other 

465 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

complications a larger chance to multiply. He kept it 
before her, when there was nothing else to do, that she 
must consider; after which he had his times of fear 
that she perhaps really would make for him this sacri- 
fice. 

He knew she had written again to Paris, and knew 
he must himself again write a situation abounding 
for each in the elements of a plight. If he stayed so 
long why then he was n't better, and if he was n't bet- 
ter Addie might take it into her head ! They must 
make it clear that he was better, so that, suspicious, 
alarmed at what was kept from her, she should n't 
suddenly present herself to nurse him. If he was bet- 
ter however, why did he stay so long ? If he stayed 
only for the attraction the sense of the attraction might 
be contagious. This was what finally grew clearest for 
him, so that he had for his mild disciple hours of still 
sharper prophecy. It consorted with his fancy to repre- 
sent to her that their young friend had been by this 
time unsparingly warned; but nothing could be 
plainer than that this was ineffectual so long as he 
himself resisted the ordeal. To plead that he remained 
because he was too weak to move was only to throw 
themselves back on the other horn of their dilemma. 
If he was too weak to move Addie would bring him 
her strength of which, when she got there, she 
would give them specimens enough. One morning he 
broke out at breakfast with an intimate conviction. 
They'd see that she was actually starting they'd 
receive a wire by noon. They did n't receive it, but by 
his theory the portent was only the stronger. It had 
moreover its grave as well as its gay side, since 

466 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

Granger's paradox and pleasantry were only the meth- 
od most open to him of conveying what he felt. He 
literally heard the knell sound, and in expressing this 
to Miss Wenham with the conversational freedom that 
seemed best to pay his way he the more vividly faced 
the contingency. He could never return, and though 
he announced it with a despair that did what might be 
to make it pass as a joke, he saw how, whether or no 
she at last understood, she quite at last believed him. 
On this, to his knowledge, she wrote again to Addie, 
and the contents of her letter excited his curiosity. 
But that sentiment, though not assuaged, quite 
dropped when, the day after, in the evening, she let 
him know she had had a telegram an hour before. 

"She comes Thursday." 

He showed not the least surprise. It was the deep 
calm of the fatalist. It had to be. "I must leave you 
then to-morrow." 

She looked, on this, as he had never seen her; it 
would have been hard to say whether what showed in 
her face was the last failure to follow or the first effort 
to meet. "And really not to come back?" 

"Never, never, dear lady. Why should I come 
back ? You can never be again what you have been. I 
shall have seen the last of you." 

"Oh!" she touchingly urged. 

"Yes, for I should next find you simply brought to 
self-consciousness. You '11 be exactly what you are, I 
charitably admit nothing more or less, nothing dif- 
ferent. But you '11 be it all in a different way. We live 
in an age of prodigious machinery, all organised to a 
single end. That end is publicity a publicity as fe- 

467 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

rocious as the appetite of a cannibal. The thing there- 
fore is not to have any illusions fondly to flatter 
yourself in a muddled moment that the cannibal will 
spare you. He spares nobody. He spares nothing. It 
will be all right. You '11 have a lovely time. You "11 be 
only just a public character blown about the world 
'for all you 're worth * and proclaimed 'for all you 're 
worth * on the house-tops. It will be for that, mind, I 
quite recognise because Addie is superior as 
well as for all you are n't. So good-bye." 

He remained however till the next day, and noted at 
intervals the different stages of their friend's journey; 
the hour, this time, she would really have started, the 
hour she 'd reach Dover, the hour she 'd get to town, 
where she'd alight at Mrs. Dunn's. Perhaps she'd 
bring Mrs. Dunn, for Mrs. Dunn would swell the 
chorus. At the last, on the morrow, as if in anticipa- 
tion of this, stillness settled between them: he became 
as silent as his hostess. But before he went she brought 
out shyly and anxiously, as an appeal, the question 
that for hours had clearly been giving her thought. 
" Do you meet her then to-night in London ? " 

"Dear no. In what position am I, alas ! to do that ? 
When can I ever meet her again ? " He had turned it 
all over. "If I could meet Addie after this, you know, 
I could meet you. And if I do meet Addie," he lucidly 
pursued, "what will happen by the same stroke is that 
I shall meet you. And that 's just what I 've explained 
to you I dread." 

"You mean she and I will be inseparable ? " 

He hesitated. "I mean she '11 tell me all about you. 
I can hear her and her ravings now." 

468 



FLICKERBRIDGE 

She gave again and it was infinitely sad her 
little whinnying laugh. "Oh but if what you say is 
true you '11 know." 

"Ah but Addie won't ! Won't, I mean, know that / 
know or at least won't believe it. Won't believe 
that any one knows. Such," he added with a strange 
smothered sigh, "is Addie. Do you know," he wound 
up, "that what, after all, has most definitely hap- 
pened is that you 've made me see her as I 've never 
done before ? " 

She blinked and gasped, she wondered and de- 
spaired. "Oh no, it will be you. I Ve had nothing to 
do with it. Everything 's all you ! " 

But for all it mattered now ! " You '11 see," he said, 
"that she's charming. I shall go for to-night to 
Oxford. I shall almost cross her on the way." 

"Then if she 's charming what am I to tell her from 
you in explanation of such strange behaviour as your 
flying away just as she arrives ? " 

"Ah you need n't mind about that you need n't 
tell her anything." 

She fixed him as if as never again. " It 's none of my 
business, of course I feel ; but is n't it a little cruel if 
you 're engaged ? " 

Granger gave a laugh almost as odd as one of her 
own. "Oh you 've cost me that ! " and he put out 
his hand to her. 

She wondered while she took it. "Cost you ?" 

"We're not engaged. Good-bye." 



MRS. MEDWIN 
I 

"WELL, we are a pair!" the poor lady's visitor broke 
out to her at the end of her explanation in a manner 
disconcerting enough. The poor lady was Miss 
Cutter, who lived in South Audley Street, where she 
had an "upper half" so concise that it had to pass 
boldly for convenient; and her visitor was her half- 
brother, whom she had n't seen for three years. She 
was remarkable for a maturity of which every symp- 
tom might have been observed to be admirably con- 
trolled, had not a tendency to stoutness just affirmed 
its independence. Her present, no doubt, insisted too 
much on her past, but with the excuse, sufficiently 
valid, that she must certainly once have been prettier. 
She was clearly not contented with once she wished 
to be prettier again. She neglected nothing that could 
produce that illusion, and, being both fair and fat, 
dressed almost wholly in black. When she added a 
little colour it was not, at any rate, to her drapery. 
Her small rooms had the peculiarity that everything 
they contained appeared to testify with vividness to 
her position in society, quite as if they had been furn- 
ished by the bounty of admiring friends. They were 
adorned indeed almost exclusively with objects that 
nobody buys, as had more than once been remarked 
by spectators of her own sex, for herself, and would 

473 



MRS. MEDWIN 

have been luxurious if luxury consisted mainly in 
photographic portraits slashed across with signatures, 
in baskets of flowers beribboned with the cards of 
passing compatriots, and in a neat collection of red 
volumes, blue volumes, alphabetical volumes, aids to 
London lucidity, of every sort, devoted to addresses 
and engagements. To be in Miss Cutter's tiny draw- 
ing-room, in short, even with Miss Cutter alone 
should you by any chance have found her so was 
somehow to be in the world and in a crowd. It was 
like an agency it bristled with particulars. 

This was what the tall lean loose gentleman loung- 
ing there before her might have appeared to read in 
the suggestive scene over which, while she talked to 
him, his eyes moved without haste and without rest. 
"Oh come, Mamie!" he occasionally threw off; and 
the words were evidently connected with the impres- 
sion thus absorbed. His comparative youth spoke of 
waste even as her positive her too positive spoke 
of economy. There was only one thing, that is, to 
make up in him for everything he had lost, though 
it was distinct enough indeed that this thing might 
sometimes serve. It consisted in the perfection of an 
indifference, an indifference at the present moment 
directed to the plea a plea of inability, of pure 
destitution with which his sister had met him. Yet 
it had even now a wider embrace, took in quite suf- 
ficiently all consequences of queerness, confessed in 
advance to the false note that, in such a setting, he 
almost excruciatingly constituted. He cared as little 
that he looked at moments all his impudence as that 
he looked all his shabbiness, all his cleverness, all his 

474 



MRS. MEDWIN 

history. These different things were written in him 
in his premature baldness, his seamed strained 
face, the lapse from bravery of his long tawny mous- 
tache; above all in his easy friendly universally ac- 
quainted eye, so much too sociable for mere conver- 
sation. What possible relation with him could be 
natural enough to meet it ? He wore a scant rough 
Inverness cape and a pair of black trousers, wanting 
in substance and marked with the sheen of time, that 
had presumably once served for evening use. He 
spoke with the slowness helplessly permitted to Amer- 
icans as something too slow to be stopped and 
he repeated that he found himself associated with 
Miss Cutter in a harmony calling for wonder. She 
had been telling him not only that she could n't pos- 
sibly give him ten pounds, but that his unexpected 
arrival, should he insist on being much in view, might 
seriously interfere with arrangements necessary to 
her own maintenance; on which he had begun by 
replying that he of course knew she had long ago 
spent her money, but that he looked to her now ex- 
actly because she had, without the aid of that con- 
venience, mastered the art of life. 

" I 'd really go away with a fiver, my dear, if you 'd 
only tell me how you do it. It 's no use saying only, 
as you've always said, that 'people are very kind to 
you/ What the devil are they kind to you for?" 

"Well, one reason is precisely that no particular in- 
convenience has hitherto been supposed to attach to 
me. I'm just what I am," said Mamie Cutter; "no- 
thing less and nothing more. It's awkward to have 
to explain to you, which moreover I really need n't 

475 



MRS. MEDWIN 

in the least. I 'm clever and amusing and charming/' 
She was uneasy and even frightened, but she kept her 
temper and met him with a grace of her own. " I don't 
think you ought to ask me more questions than I ask 
you." 

"Ah my dear," said the odd young man, "I've no 
mysteries. Why in the world, since it was what you 
came out for and have devoted so much of your time 
to, haven't you pulled it off? Why haven't you 
married ? " 

" Why have n't you ? " she retorted. " Do you think 
that if I had it would have been better for you ? 
that my husband would for a moment have put up 
with you ? Do you mind my asking you if you '11 
kindly go now ? " she went on after a glance at the 
clock. "I'm expecting a friend, whom I must see 
alone, on a matter of great importance " 

"And my being seen with you may compromise 
your respectability or undermine your nerve ? " He 
sprawled imperturbably in his place, crossing again, 
in another sense, his long black legs and showing, 
above his low shoes, an absurd reach of parti-coloured 
sock. "I take your point well enough, but mayn't 
you be after all quite wrong ? If you can't do any- 
thing for me could n't you at least do something with 
me ? If it comes to that, I 'm clever and amusing and 
charming too ! I Ve been such an ass that you don't 
appreciate me. But people like me I assure you 
they do. They usually don't know what an ass I 've 
been; they only see the surface, which" and he 
stretched himself afresh as she looked him up and 
down "you can imagine them, can't you, rather 

476 



MRS. MEDWIN 

taken with ? I'm 'what I am* too; nothing less and 
nothing more. That 's true of us as a family, you see. 
We are a crew ! " He delivered himself serenely. His 
voice was soft and flat, his pleasant eyes, his simple 
tones tending to the solemn, achieved at moments 
that effect of quaintness which is, in certain connex- 
ions, socially so known and enjoyed. "English peo- 
ple have quite a weakness for me more than any 
others. I get on with them beautifully. I 've always 
been with them abroad. They think me," the young 
man explained, "diabolically American." 

"You!" Such stupidity drew from her a sigh of 
compassion. 

Her companion apparently quite understood it. 
"Are you homesick, Mamie ? " he asked, with wonder- 
ing irrelevance. 

The manner of the question made her for some 
reason, in spite of her preoccupations, break into a 
laugh. A shade of indulgence, a sense of other things, 
came back to her. "You are funny, Scott!" 

"Well," remarked Scott, "that 's just what I claim. 
But are you so homesick ? " he spaciously enquired, 
not as to a practical end, but from an easy play of 
intelligence. 

"I'm just dying of it!" said Mamie Cutter. 

"Why so am I!" Her visitor had a sweetness of 
concurrence. 

"We're the only decent people," Miss Cutter de- 
clared. "And I know. You don't you can't; and 
I can't explain. Come in," she continued with a 
return of her impatience and an increase of her de- 
cision, "at seven sharp." 

477 



MRS. MEDWIN 

She had quitted her seat some time before, and now, 
to get him into motion, hovered before him while, 
still motionless, he looked up at her. Something 
intimate, in the silence, appeared to pass between 
them a community of fatigue and failure and, 
after all, of intelligence. There was a final cynical 
humour in it. It determined him, in any case, at last, 
and he slowly rose, taking in again as he stood there 
the testimony of the room. He might have been 
counting the photographs, but he looked at the flowers 
with detachment. "Who's coming?" 
"Mrs. Medwin." 
"American?" 
"Dear no!" 

"Then what are you doing for her ?" 
"I work for everyone/' she promptly returned. 
"Forevery one who pays ? So I suppose. Yet is n't 
it only we who do pay ? " 

There was a drollery, not lost on her, in the way 
his queer presence lent itself to his emphasised plural. 
"Do you consider that you do ?" 

At this, with his deliberation, he came back to his 
charming idea. "Only try me, and see if I can't be 
made to. Work me in." On her sharply presenting 
her back he stared a little at the clock. "If I come 
at seven may I stay to dinner ? " 

It brought her round again. "Impossible. I'm 
dining out." 
"With whom?" 

She had to think. "With Lord Considine." 
"Oh my eye!" Scott exclaimed. 
She looked at him gloomily. "Is that sort of tone 



MRS. MEDWIN 

what makes you pay ? I think you might understand," 
she went on, "that if you 're to sponge on me success- 
fully you must n't ruin me. I must have some remote 
resemblance to a lady." 

"Yes ? But why must I?" Her exasperated silence 
was full of answers, of which however his inimitable 
manner took no account. "You don't understand 
my real strength; I doubt if you even understand 
your own. You 're clever, Mamie, but you 're not so 
clever as I supposed, However," he pursued, "it's 
out of Mrs. Medwin that you '11 get it." 

"Get what?" 

"Why the cheque that will enable you to assist 
me." 

On this, for a moment, she met his eyes. "If you '11 
come back at seven sharp not a minute before, 
and not a minute after, I '11 give you two five-pound 
notes." 

He thought it over. "Whom are you expecting a 
minute after ? " 

It sent her to the window with a groan almost of 
anguish, and she answered nothing till she had looked 
at the street. " If you injure me, you know, Scott, 
you'll be sorry." 

" I would n't injure you for the world. What I want 
to do in fact is really to help you, and I promise you 
that I won't leave you by which I mean won't leave 
London till I 've effected something really pleasant 
for you. I like you, Mamie, because I like pluck ; I 
like you much more than you like me. I like you 
very, very much." He had at last with this reached 
the door and opened it, but he remained with his 

479 



MRS. MEDWIN 

hand on the latch. "What does Mrs. Medwin want 
of you ? " he thus brought out. 

She had come round to see him disappear, and in 
the relief of this prospect she again just indulged him. 
"The impossible." 

He waited another minute. "And you're going to 
doit?" 

"I'm going to do it," said Mamie Cutter. 

"Well then that ought to be a haul. Call it three 
fivers!" he laughed. "At seven sharp." And at last 
he left her alone. 



II 

Miss CUTTER waited till she heard the house-door 
close; after which, in a sightless mechanical way, 
she moved about the room readjusting various 
objects he had not touched. It was as if his mere 
voice and accent had spoiled her form. But she 
was not left too long to reckon with these things, for 
Mrs. Medwin was promptly announced. This lady 
was not, more than her hostess, in the first flush 
of her youth; her appearance the scattered re- 
mains of beauty manipulated by taste resem- 
bled one of the light repasts in which the fragments 
of yesterday's dinner figure with a conscious ease 
that makes up for the want of presence. She was 
perhaps of an effect still too immediate to be called 
interesting, but she was candid, gentle and surprised 
not fatiguingly surprised, only just in the right 
degree; and her white face it was too white 
with the fixed eyes, the somewhat touzled hair and 
the Louis Seize hat, might at the end of the very 
long neck have suggested the head of a princess car- 
ried on a pike in a revolution. She immediately 
took up the business that had brought her, with the 
air however of drawing from the omens then dis- 
cernible less confidence than she had hoped. The 
complication lay in the fact that if it was Mamie's 
part to present the omens, that lady yet had so to 

481 



MRS. MEDWIN 

colour them as to make her own service large. She 
perhaps over-coloured, for her friend gave way to 
momentary despair. 

"What you mean is then that it's simply impos- 
sible?" 

"Oh no," said Mamie with a qualified emphasis. 
"It's possible." 
"But disgustingly difficult?" 
"As difficult as you like." 
"Then what can I do that I have n't done 1" 
"You can only wait a little longer." 
"But that's just what I have done. I've done 
nothing else. I 'm always waiting a little longer ! " 

Miss Cutter retained, in spite of this pathos, her 
grasp of the subject. "The thing, as I 've told you, 
is for you first to be seen." 
"But if people won't look at me ?" 
"They will." 

"They will?" Mrs. Medwin was eager. 
"They shall," her hostess went on. " It 's their only 
having heard without having seen." 

"But if they stare straight the other way?" Mrs. 
Medwin continued to object. "You can't simply go 
up to them and twist their heads about." 
"It's just what I can," said Mamie Cutter. 
But her charming visitor, heedless for the moment 
of this attenuation, had found the way to put it. " It 's 
the old story. You can't go into the water till you 
swim, and you can't swim till you go into the water. 
I can't be spoken to till I 'm seen, but I can't be seen 
till I 'm spoken to." 
She met this lucidity, Miss Cutter, with but an 



MRS. MEDWIN 

instant's lapse. "You say I can't twist their heads 
about. But I have twisted them." 

It had been quietly produced, but it gave her com- 
panion a jerk. "They say 'Yes* ?" 

She summed it up. "All but one. She says 'No.'" 

Mrs. Medwin thought; then jumped. "Lady 
Wantridge?" 

Miss Cutter, as more delicate, only bowed admis- 
sion. "I shall see her either this afternoon or late 
to-morrow. But she has written." 

Her visitor wondered again. "May I see her let- 
ter?" 

"No." She spoke with decision. "But I shall 
square her." 

"Then how?" 

"Well" and Miss Cutter, as if looking upward 
for inspiration, fixed her eyes a while on the ceiling 
"well, it will come to me." 

Mrs. Medwin watched her it was impressive. 
"And will they come to you the others?" This 
question drew out the fact that they would so far 
at least as they consisted of Lady Edward, Lady 
Bellhouse and Mrs. Pouncer, who had engaged to 
muster, at the signal of tea, on the I4h prepared, 
as it were, for the worst. There was of course always 
the chance that Lady Wantridge might take the field 
in such force as to paralyse them, though that danger, 
at the same time, seemed inconsistent with her being 
squared. It did n't perhaps all quite ideally hang 
together ; but what it sufficiently came to was that if 
she was the one who could do most for a person in 
Mrs. Medwin's position she was also the one who 

483 



MRS. MEDWIN 

could do most against. It would therefore be distinctly 
what our friend familiarly spoke of as "collar-work/' 
The effect of these mixed considerations was at any 
rate that Mamie eventually acquiesced in the idea, 
handsomely thrown out by her client, that she should 
have an "advance" to go on with. Miss Cutter con- 
fessed that it seemed at times as if one scarce could 
go on ; but the advance was, in spite of this delicacy, 
still more delicately made made in the form of a 
banknote, several sovereigns, some loose silver and 
two coppers, the whole contents of her purse, neatly 
disposed by Mrs. Medwin on one of the tiny tables. 
It seemed to clear the air for deeper intimacies, the 
fruit of which was that Mamie, lonely after all in 
her crowd and always more helpful than helped, 
eventually brought out that the way Scott had been 
going on was what seemed momentarily to over- 
shadow her own power to do so. 

"I've had a descent from him." But she had 
to explain. "My half-brother Scott Homer. A 
wretch." 

"What kind of a wretch ?" 

"Every kind. I lose sight of him at rimes he dis- 
appears abroad. But he always turns up again, worse 
than ever." 

"Violent?" 

"No." 

"Maudlin?" 

"No." 

"Only unpleasant?" 

"No. Rather pleasant. Awfully clever awfully 
travelled and easy." 

484 



MRS. MEDWIN 

"Then what's the matter with him ?" 

Mamie mused, hesitated seemed to see a wide 
past. "I don't know/' 

"Something in the background?" Then as her 
friend was silent, " Something queer about cards ? " 
Mrs. Medwin threw off. 

"I don't know and I don't want to!" 

"Ah well, I'm sure 7 don't," Mrs. Medwin re- 
turned with spirit. The note of sharpness was per- 
haps also a little in the observation she made as she 
gathered herself to go* "Do you mind my saying 
something ? " 

Mamie took her eyes quickly from the money 
on the little stand. "You may say what you like." 

"I only mean that anything awkward you may 
have to keep out of the way does seem to make 
more wonderful, doesn't it, that you should have 
got just where you are? I allude, you know, to 
your position." 

"I see." Miss Cutter somewhat coldly smiled. "To 
my power." 

"So awfully remarkable in an American." 

"Ah you like us so." 

Mrs. Medwin candidly considered. "But we don't, 
dearest." 

Her companion's smile brightened. "Then why do 
you come to me ? " 

"Oh I like you!" Mrs. Medwin made out. 

"Then that's it. There are no ' Americans.' It's 
always *you/" 

"Me?" Mrs. Medwin looked lovely, but a little 
muddled. 

485 



MRS. MEDWIN 



"Me r Mamie Cutter laughed. "But if you like 
me, you dear thing, you can judge if I like you." She 
gave her a kiss to dismiss her. "I'll see you again 
when I 've seen her." 

"Lady Wantridge? I hope so, indeed. I'll turn 
up late to-morrow, if you don't catch me first. Has 
it come to you yet ? " the visitor, now at the door, 
went on. 

"No; but it will. There's time." 
"Oh a little less every day!" 
Miss Cutter had approached the table and glanced 
again at the gold and silver and the note, not indeed 
absolutely overlooking the two coppers. "The bal- 
ance," she put it, "the day after?" 
"That very night if you like." 
"Then count on me." 

"Oh if I did n't I" But the door closed on the 
dark idea. Yearningly then, and only when it had 
done so, Miss Cutter took up the money. 

She went out with it ten minutes later, and, the 
calls on her time being many, remained out so long 
that at half-past six she hadn't come back. At that 
hour, on the other hand, Scott Homer knocked at her 
door, where her maid, who opened it with a weak 
pretense of holding it firm, ventured to announce to 
him, as a lesson well learnt, that he hadn't been 
expected till seven. No lesson, none the less, could 
prevail against his native art. He pleaded fatigue, 
her, the maid's, dreadful depressing London, and the 
need to curl up somewhere. If she 'd just leave him 
quiet half an hour that old sofa upstairs would do for 
it; of which he took quickly such effectual possession 

486 



MRS. MEDWIN 

that when five minutes later she peeped, nervous for 
her broken vow, into the drawing-room, the faithless 
young woman found him extended at his length and 
peacefully asleep. 



Ill 

THE situation before Miss Cutter's return developed 
in other directions still, and when that event took 
place, at a few minutes past seven, these circumstances 
were, by the foot of the stair, between mistress and 
maid, the subject of some interrogative gasps and 
scared admissions. Lady Wantridge had arrived 
shortly after the interloper, and wishing, as she said, 
to wait, had gone straight up in spite of being told 
he was lying down. 

"She distinctly understood he was there?" 

"Oh yes ma'am; I thought it right to mention." 

"And what did you call him ?" 

"Well, ma'am, I thought it unfair to you to call 
him anything but a gentleman." 

Mamie took it all in, though there might well be 
more of it than one could quickly embrace. " But if 
she has had time," she flashed, "to find out he is n't 
one?" 

"Oh ma'am, she had a quarter of an hour." 

"Then she is n't with him still ?" 

"No ma'am; she came down again at last. She 
rang, and I saw her here, and she said she would n't 
wait longer." 

Miss Cutter darkly mused. "Yet had already 
waited ?" 

"Quite a quarter." 

"Mercy on us!" She began to mount. Before 
488 



MRS. MEDWIN 

reaching the top however she had reflected that quite 
a quarter was long if Lady Wantridge had only been 
shocked. On the other hand it was short if she had 
only been pleased. But how could she have been 
pleased ? The very essence of their actual crisis was 
just that there was no pleasing her. Mamie had but 
to open the drawing-room door indeed to perceive 
that this was not true at least of Scott Homer, who 
was horribly cheerful. 

Miss Cutter expressed to her brother without re- 
serve her sense of the constitutional, the brutal selfish- 
ness that had determined his mistimed return. It 
had taken place, in violation of their agreement, ex- 
actly at the moment when it was most cruel to her 
that he should be there, and if she must now com- 
pletely wash her hands of him he had only himself to 
thank. She had come in flushed with resentment and 
for a moment had been voluble; but it would have 
been striking that, though the way he received her 
might have seemed but to aggravate, it presently 
justified him by causing their relation really to take 
a stride. He had the art of confounding those who 
would quarrel with him by reducing them to the 
humiliation of a stirred curiosity. 

"What could she have made of you?" Mamie 
demanded. 

"My dear girl, she's not a woman who's eager to 
make too much of anything anything, I mean, that 
will prevent her from doing as she likes, what she 
takes into her head. Of course," he continued to 
explain, "if it's something she doesn't want to do, 
she'll make as much as Moses." 

489 



MRS. MEDWIN 

Mamie wondered if that was the way he talked to 
her visitor, but felt obliged to own to his acuteness. 
It was an exact description of Lady Wantridge, and 
she was conscious of tucking it away for future use 
in a corner of her miscellaneous little mind. She 
withheld however all present acknowledgement, only 
addressing him another question. "Did you really 
get on with her ? " 

"Have you still to learn, darling I can't help 
again putting it to you that I get on with every- 
body? That's just what I don't seem able to drive 
into you. Only see how I get on with you" 

She almost stood corrected. "What I mean is of 
course whether " 

"Whether she made love to me? Shyly, yet or 
because shamefully? She would certainly have 
liked awfully to stay." 
"Then why did n't she ?" 

"Because, on account of some other matter and 
I could see it was true she had n't time. Twenty 
minutes she was here less were all she came to 
give you. So don't be afraid I Ve frightened her away. 
She'll come back." 

Mamie thought it over. "Yet you did n't go with 
her to the door?" 

"She would n't let me, and I know when to do what 
I *m told quite as much as what I 'm not told. She 
wanted to find out about me. I mean from your little 
creature; a pearl of fidelity, by the way." 

"But what on earth did she come up for ?" Mamie 
again found herself appealing, and just by that fact 
showing her need of help. 

490 



MRS. MEDWIN 

"Because she always goes up." Then as, in the 
presence of this rapid generalisation, to say nothing 
of that of such a relative altogether, Miss Cutter 
could only show as comparatively blank : " I mean she 
knows when to go up and when to come down. She 
has instincts ; she did n't know whom you might have 
up here. It '$ a kind of compliment to you anyway. 
Why Mamie/' Scott pursued, "you don't know the 
curiosity we any of us inspire. You would n't believe 
what I 've seen. The bigger bugs they are the more 
they're on the lookout." 

Mamie still followed, but at a distance. "The look* 
out for what?" 

"Why for anything that will help them to live. 
You've been here all this time without making out 
then, about them, what I 've had to pick out as I can ? 
They 're dead, don't you see ? And we 're alive." 

"You ? Oh!" Mamie almost laughed about it. 

"Well, they're a worn-out old lot anyhow; they've 
used up their resources. They do look out; and I'll 
do them the justice to say they're not afraid not 
even of me ! " he continued as his sister again showed 
something of the same irony. "Lady Wantridge at 
any rate was n't; that's what I mean by her having 
made love to me. She does what she likes. Mind it, 
you know." He was by this time fairly teaching her 
to read one of her best friends, and when, after it, he 
had come back to the great point of his lesson that 
of her failure, through feminine inferiority, practically 
to grasp the truth that their being just as they were, 
he and she, was the real card for them to play 
when he had renewed that reminder he left her 

491 



MRS. MEDWIN 

absolutely in a state of dependence. Her impulse to 
press him on the subject of Lady Wantridge dropped ; 
it was as if she had felt that, whatever had taken 
place, something would somehow come of it. She 
was to be in a manner disappointed but the impres- 
sion helped to keep her over to the next morning, 
when, as Scott had foretold, his new acquaintance 
did reappear, explaining to Miss Cutter that she had 
acted the day before to gain time and that she even 
now sought to gain it by not waiting longer. What, 
she promptly intimated she had asked herself, could 
that friend be thinking of? She must show where she 
stood before things had gone too far. If she had 
brought her answer without more delay she wished 
to make it sharp. Mrs. Medwin ? Never! "No, my 
dear not I. There I stop/* 

Mamie had known it would be "collar-work," but 
somehow now, at the beginning, she felt her heart 
sink. It was not that she had expected to carry the 
position with a rush, but that, as always after an 
interval, her visitor's defences really loomed and 
quite, as it were, to the material vision too large. 
She was always planted with them, voluminous, in 
the very centre of the passage; was like a person 
accommodated with a chair in some unlawful place 
at the theatre. She would n't move and you could n't 
get round. Mamie's calculation indeed had not been 
on getting round; she was obliged to recognise that, 
too foolishly and fondly, she had dreamed of in- 
ducing a surrender. Her dream had been the fruit 
of her need ; but, conscious that she was even yet un- 
equipped for pressure, she felt, almost for the first 

492 



MRS. MEDWIN 

time in her life, superficial and crude. She was to be 
paid but with what was she, to that end, to pay ? 
She had engaged to find an answer to this question, 
but the answer had not, according to her promise, 
"come." And Lady Wantridge meanwhile massed 
herself, and there was no view of her that did n't show 
her as verily, by some process too obscure to be traced, 
the hard depository of the social law. She was no 
younger, no fresher, no stronger, really, than any of 
them ; she was only, with a kind of haggard fineness, 
a sharpened taste for life, and, with all sorts of things 
behind and beneath her, more abysmal and more 
immoral, more secure and more impertinent. The 
points she made were two in number. One was that 
she absolutely declined ; the other was that she quite 
doubted if Mamie herself had measured the job. The 
thing could n't be done. But say it could be ; was 
Mamie quite the person to do it ? To this Miss Cut- 
ter, with a sweet smile, replied that she quite under- 
stood how little she might seem so. " I 'm only one of 
the persons to whom it has appeared that you are." 
"Then who are the others ?" 
"Well, to begin with, Lady Edward, Lady Bell- 
house and Mrs. Pouncer." 
" Do you mean that they '11 come to meet her ? " 
" I 've seen them, and they 've promised." 
"To come, of course/' Lady Wantridge said, "if 
/ come." 

Her hostess cast about. "Oh of course you could 
prevent them. But I should take it as awfully kind 
of you not to. Won't you do this for me ? " Mamie 
pleaded. 

493 



MRS. MEDWIN 

Her friend looked over the room very much as 
Scott had done. "Do they really understand what 
it's for ?" 

"Perfectly. So that she may call/' 
"And what good will that do her?" 
Miss Cutter faltered, but she presently brought it 
out. "Naturally what one hopes is that you'll ask 
her." 

"Ask her to call?" 

"Ask her to dine. Ask her, if you'd be so truly 
sweet, for a Sunday, or something of that sort, and 
even if only in one of your most mixed parties, to 
Catchmore." 

Miss Cutter felt the less hopeful after this effort in 
that her companion only showed a strange good 
nature. And it was n't a satiric amiability, though 
it was amusement. "Take Mrs. Medwin into my 
family?" 

"Some day when you're taking forty others." 
"Ah but what I don't see is what it does for you. 
You're already so welcome among us that you can 
scarcely improve your position even by forming for 
us the most delightful relation." 

"Well, I know how dear you are," Mamie Cutter 
replied ; " but one has after all more than one side and 
more than one sympathy. I like her, you know." 
And even at this Lady Wantridge was n't shocked ; 
she showed that ease and blandness which were her 
way, unfortunately, of being most impossible. She 
remarked that she might listen to such things, because 
she was clever enough for them not to matter; only 
Mamie should take care how she went about saying 

494 



MRS. MEDWIN 

them at large. When she became definite however, 
in a minute, on the subject of the public facts, Miss 
Cutter soon found herself ready to make her own 
concession. Of course she did n't dispute them : there 
they were; they were unfortunately on record, and 
nothing was to be done about them but to Mamie 
found it in truth at this point a little difficult. 

"Well, what? Pretend already to have forgotten 
them?" 

"Why not, when you 've done it in so many other 
cases ? " 

"There are no other cases so bad. One meets them 
at any rate as they come. Some you can manage, 
others you can't. It 's no use, you must give them up. 
They're past patching; there 's nothing to be done 
with them. There's nothing accordingly to be done 
with Mrs. Medwin but to put her off." And Lady 
Wantridge rose to her height. 

"Well, you know, I do do things," Mamie quav- 
ered with a smile so strained that it partook of ex- 
altation. 

"You help people ? Oh yes, I've known you to do 
Bonders. But stick," said Lady Wantridge with 
strong and cheerful emphasis, "to your Americans!" 

Miss Cutter, gazing, got up. "You don't do just- 
ice, Lady Wantridge, to your own compatriots. 
Some of them are really charming. Besides," said 
Mamie, "working for mine often strikes me, so far 
as the interest the inspiration and excitement, don't 
you know ? go, as rather too easy. You all, as I 
constantly have occasion to say, like us so!" 

Her companion frankly weighed it. "Yes; it takes 

495 



MRS. MEDWIN 

that to account for your position. I Ve always thought 
of you nevertheless as keeping for their benefit a reg- 
ular working agency. They come to you, and you 
place them. There remains, I confess," her ladyship 
went on in the same free spirit, " the great wonder " 
"Of how I first placed my poor little self? Yes," 
Mamie bravely conceded, "when / began there was 
no agency, I just worked my passage. I did n't even 
come to yoUy did I ? You never noticed me till, as 
Mrs. Short Stokes says, *I was 'way, 'way up ! ' Mrs. 
Medwin," she threw in, "can't get over it." Then, 
as her friend looked vague: "Over my social situa- 



tion." 



"Well, it's no great flattery to you to say," Lady 
Wantridge good-humouredly returned, "that she cer- 
tainly can't hope for one resembling it." Yet it really 
seemed to spread there before them. "You simply 
made Mrs. Short Stokes." 

"In spite of her name!" Mamie smiled. 

"Oh your 'names' ! In spite of everything." 

"Ah I 'm something of an artist." With which, and 
a relapse marked by her wistful eyes into the gravity 
of the matter, she supremely fixed her friend. She 
felt how little she minded betraying at last the ex- 
tremity of her need, and it was out of this extremity 
that her appeal proceeded. "Have I really had your 
last word ? It means so much to me." 

Lady Wantridge came straight to the point. "You 
mean you depend on it?" 

"Awfully!" 

"Is it all you have?" 

"All. Now/' 

496 



MRS. MEDWIN 

"But Mrs. Short Stokes and the others 'rolling/ 
are n't they ? Don't they pay up ? " 

"Ah," sighed Mamie, "if it was n't for them I" 

Lady Wantridge perceived. "You've had so 
much?" 

"I could n't have gone on." 

"Then what do you do with it all ?" 

"Oh most of it goes back to them. There are all 
sorts, and it 's all help. Some of them have nothing." 

"Oh if you feed the hungry," Lady Wantridge 
laughed, "you 're indeed in a great way of business. 
Is Mrs. Medwin" her transition was immediate 
"really rich?" 

"Really. He left her everything." 

"So that if I do say 'yes' " 

"It will quite set me up." 

"I see and how much more responsible it makes 
one ! But I 'd rather myself give you the money." 

"Oh!" Mamie coldly murmured. 

"You mean I mayn't suspect your prices ? Well, 
I dare say I don't! But I'd rather give you ten 
pounds." 

"Oh!" Mamie repeated in a tone that sufficiently 
covered her prices. The question was in every way 
larger. " Do you never forgive ? " she reproachfully 
enquired. The door opened however at the moment 
she spoke and Scott Homer presented himself. 



IV 

SCOTT HOMER wore exactly, to his sister's eyes, the 
aspect he had worn the day before, and it also formed 
to her sense the great feature of his impartial greeting. 

"How d'ye do, Mamie? How d'ye do, Lady 
Wantridge?" 

"How d'ye do again ?" Lady Wantridge replied 
with an equanimity striking to her hostess. It was as 
if Scott's own had been contagious; it was almost 
indeed as if she had seen him before. Had she 
ever so seen him before the previous day ? While 
Miss Cutter put to herself this question her visitor 
at all events met the one she had previously uttered. 
"Ever * forgive*?" this personage echoed in a tone 
that made as little account as possible of the interrup- 
tion. "Dear, yes ! The people I have forgiven ! " She 
laughed perhaps a little nervously; and she was 
now looking at Scott. The way she looked at him was 
precisely what had already had its effect for his sister. 
"The people I can!" 

"Can you forgive me?" asked Scott Homer. 

She took it so easily. " But what ? " 

Mamie interposed; she turned directly to her 
brother. "Don't try her. Leave it so." She had had 
an inspiration; it was the most extraordinary thing 
in the world. "Don't try him " she had turned to 
their companion. She looked grave, sad, strange. 
"Leave it so." Yes, it was a distinct inspiration, 

498 



MRS. MEDWIN 

which she could n't have explained, but which had 
come, prompted by something she had caught the 
extent of the recognition expressed in Lady Want- 
ridge's face. It had come absolutely of a sudden, 
straight out of the opposition of the two figures before 
her quite as if a concussion had struck a light. 
The light was helped by her quickened sense that her 
friend's silence on the incident of the day before 
showed some sort of consciousness. She looked sur- 
prised. "Do you know my brother ?" 

"Do I know you ?" Lady Wantridge asked of him. 

"No, Lady Wantridge," Scott pleasantly confessed, 
"not one little mite!" 

"Well then if you must go !" and Mamie offered 
her a hand. " But I '11 go down with you. Not you!" 
she launched at her brother, who immediately effaced 
himself. His way of doing so and he had already 
done so, as for Lady Wantridge, in respect to their 
previous encounter struck her even at the moment 
as an instinctive if slightly blind tribute to her pos- 
session of an idea; and as such, in its celerity, made 
her so admire him, and their common wit, that she 
on the spot more than forgave him his queerness. 
He was right. He could be as queer as he liked ! The 
queerer the better ! It was at the foot of the stairs, 
when she had got her guest down, that what she had 
assured Mrs. Medwin would come did indeed come. 
"Did you meet him here yesterday?" 

" Dear yes. Is n't he too funny ? " 

"Yes," said Mamie gloomily. "He is funny. But 
had you ever met him before ? " 

"Dear no!" 

499 



MRS. MEDWIN 

"Oh!" and Mamie's tone might have meant 
many things. 

Lady Wantridge however, after all, easily over- 
looked it. "I only knew he was one of your odd 
Americans. That's why, when I heard yesterday 
here that he was up there awaiting your return, I 
did n't let that prevent me. I thought he might be. 
He certainly," her ladyship laughed, "is" 

"Yes, he's very American," Mamie went on in the 
same way. 

"As you say, we are fond of you ! Good-bye," said 
Lady Wantridge. 

But Mamie had not half done with her. She felt 
more and more or she hoped at least that she 
looked strange. She was, no doubt, if it came to that, 
strange. "Lady Wantridge," she almost convulsively 
broke out, "I don't know whether you'll understand 
me, but I seem to feel that I must act with you I 
don't know what to call it ! responsibly. He is my 
brother." 

" Surely and why not ? " Lady Wantridge stared. 
"He's the image of you!" 

"Thank you!" and Mamie was stranger than 
ever. 

"Oh he's good-looking. He's handsome, my dear. 
Oddly but distinctly ! " Her ladyship was for treat- 
ing it much as a joke. 

But Mamie, all sombre, would have none of this. 
She boldly gave him up. "I think he's awful." 

"He is indeed delightfully. And where do you 
get your ways of saying things ? It is n't anything 
and the things aren't anything. But it's so droll." 

500 



MRS. MEDWIN 

" Don't let yourself, all the same/' Mamie consist- 
ently pursued, "be carried away by it. The thing 
can't be done simply." 

Lady Wantridge wondered. "'Done simply'?" 

"Done at all" 

"But what can't be?" 

"Why, what you might think from his pleasant- 
ness. What he spoke of your doing for him." 

Lady Wantridge recalled. "Forgiving him ?" 

"He asked you if you couldn't. But you can't. 
It 's too dreadful for me, as so near a relation, to have, 
loyally loyally to you to say it. But he's im- 
possible." 

It was so portentously produced that her ladyship 
had somehow to meet it. "What's the matter with 
him?" 

"I don't know." 

"Then what's the matter with you?" Lady Want- 
ridge enquired. 

"It's because I won't know," Mamie not with- 
out dignity explained. 

"Then /won't either!" 

"Precisely. Don't. It's something," Mamie pur- 
sued, with some inconsequence, "that somewhere 
or other, at some time or other he appears to have 
done. Something that has made a difference in his 
life." 

"'Something'?" Lady Wantridge echoed again. 
"What kind of thing?" 

Mamie looked up at the light above the door, 
through which the London sky was doubly dim. "I 
have n't the least idea." 



MRS. MJtXJWlJN 
"Then what kind of difference ?" 



Mamie's gaze was still at the light. "The differ- 
ence you see." 

Lady Wantridge, rather obligingly, seemed to ask 
herself what she saw. "But I don't see any ! It seems, 
at least," she added, "such an amusing one! And 
he has such nice eyes." 

"Oh dear eyes!" Mamie conceded; but with too 
much sadness, for the moment, about the connexions 
of the subject, to say more. 

It almost forced her companion after an instant to 
proceed. "Do you mean he can't go home ?" 

She weighed her responsibility. "I only make out 

more's the pity! that he doesn't." 
"Is it then something too terrible ?" 

She thought again. " I don't know what for men 

is too terrible." 

"Well then as you don't know what 'is ' for women 
either good-bye!" her visitor laughed. 

It practically wound up the interview; which, 
however, terminating thus on a considerable stir of 
the air, was to give Miss Cutter for several days the 
sense of being much blown about. The degree to 
which, to begin with, she had been drawn or per- 
haps rather pushed closer to Scott was marked in 
the brief colloquy that she on her friend's departure 
had with him. He had immediately said it. "You'll 
see if she does n't ask me down ! " 

"So soon?" 

"Oh I've known them at places at Cannes, at 
Pau, at Shanghai do it sooner still. I always know 
when they will. You can't make out they don't love 

502 



MRS. MEDWIN 

me! 5 ' He spoke almost plaintively, as if he wished 
she could. 

"Then I don't see why it hasn't done you more 
good." 

"Why Mamie," he patiently reasoned, "what more 
good could it ? As I tell you," he explained, "it has 
just been my life." 

"Then why do you come to me for money ?" 

"Oh they don't give me that!" Scott returned. 

"So that it only means then, after all, that I, at the 
best, must keep you up ? " 

He fixed on her the nice eyes Lady Wantridge 
admired. " Do you mean to tell me that already at 
this very moment I 'm not distinctly keeping you ? " 

She gave him back his look. "Wait till she has 
asked you, and then," Mamie added, "decline." 

Scott, not too grossly, wondered. "As acting for 
you?" 

Mamie's next injunction was answer enough. " But 
before yes call." 

He took it in. "Call but decline. Good!" 

"The rest," she said, "I leave to you." And she 
left it in fact with such confidence that for a couple 
of days she was not only conscious of no need to give 
Mrs. Medwin another turn of the screw, but positively 
evaded, in her fortitude, the reappearance of that 
lady. It was not till the fourth day that she waited 
upon her, finding her, as she had expected, tense. 

"Lady Wantridge will ?" 

"Yes, though she says she won't." 

"She says she won't? O oh!" Mrs. Medwin 
moaned. 

5<>3 



MRS. MEDWIN 

"Sit tight all the same. I have her!" 
" But how ?" 

"Through Scott whom she wants." 
" Your bad brother ! " Mrs. Medwin stared. " What 
does she want of him ? " 

"To amuse them at Catchmore. Anything for that. 
And he would. But he shan't!" Mamie declared. 
"He shan't go unless she comes. She must meet you 
first you're my condition." 

"O o oh!" Mrs. Medwin 9 s tone was a won- 
der of hope and fear. " But does n't he want to go ? " 
" He wants what / want. She draws the line at you. 
I draw the line at him." 
"But she does n't she mind that he's bad ?" 
It was so artless that Mamie laughed. "No it 
does n't touch her. Besides, perhaps he is n't. It is n't 
as for you people seem not to know. He has settled 
everything, at all events, by going to see her. It's 
before her that he 's the thing she '11 have to have." 
"Have to?" 

"For Sundays in the country. A feature the 
feature." 

"So she has asked him ?" 
"Yes and he has declined." 
"For me?" Mrs. Medwin panted. 
"For me," said Mamie on the door-step. "But I 
don't leave him for long." Her hansom had waited. 
"She '11 come." 

Lady Wantridge did come. She met in South Aud- 
ley Street, on the fourteenth, at tea, the ladies whom 
Mamie had named to her, together with three or four 
others, and it was rather a master-stroke for Miss 

54 



MRS. MEDWIN 

Cutter that if Mrs. Medwin was modestly present 
Scott Homer was as markedly not. This occasion, 
however, is a medal that would take rare casting, as 
would also, for that matter, even the minor light and 
shade, the lower relief, of the pecuniary transaction 
that Mrs. Medwin's flushed gratitude scarce awaited 
the dispersal of the company munificently to complete. 
A new understanding indeed on the spot rebounded 
from it, the conception of which, in Mamie's mind, 
had promptly bloomed. "He shan't go now unless 
he takes you." Then, as her fancy always moved 
quicker for her client than her client's own " Down 
with him to Catchmore! When he goes to amuse 
them you," she serenely developed, "shall amuse 
them too." Mrs. Medwin's response was again rather 
oddly divided, but she was sufficiently intelligible 
when it came to meeting the hint that this latter 
provision would represent success to the tune of a 
separate fee. "Say/* Mamie had suggested, "the 



same." 



"Very well; the same." 

The knowledge that it was to be the same had per- 
haps something to do also with the obliging spirit in 
which Scott eventually went. It was all at the last 
rather hurried a party rapidly got together for the 
Grand Duke, who was in England but for the hour, 
who had good-naturedly proposed himself, and who 
liked his parties small intimate and funny. This one 
was of the smallest and was finally judged to conform 
neither too little nor too much to the other conditions 
after a brief whirlwind of wires and counterwires, 
and an iterated waiting of hansoms at various doors 



MRS. MEDWIN 

to include Mrs. Medwin. It was from Catchmore 
itself that, snatching a moment on the wondrous Sun- 
day afternoon, this lady had the harmonious thought 
of sending the new cheque. She was in bliss enough, 
but her scribble none the less intimated that it was 
Scott who amused them most. He was the feature.